The GSM Association (GSMA) has formed a group of mobile operators to explore the creation of a SIM that can be embedded and remotely activated in any electronic device.
The move could usher in a new era of machine-to-machine communications by giving network connectivity to devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices, e-book readers and smart meters.
GSMA said that it will analyse the market requirements and technical solutions needed to evolve current SIM provisioning mechanisms to create an embeddable version that will enable remote activation.
The task force will comprise experts from AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, in co-operation with SIM producers.
The analysis is expected to be completed by January, and the technical suggestions will be built on the principles of openness and standardisation, according to GSMA.
Devices featuring the new SIM activation capability could appear in 2012, and GSMA stressed that traditional SIM-based devices will continue to work on existing networks.
Ian Fogg, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, believes that the rise of connected devices is creating the need for a different type of SIM.
"The number of connected devices is growing all the time in smartphones, e-book readers and more everyday objects as the technology becomes smaller and more capable and reliable," he said.
"However, if you start embedding SIMs within devices you need a different way of provisioning and maintaining devices that contain these technologies, rather than the current access offered by mobile phone SIMs."
This sort of technology could have benefits for sectors such as utilities and logistics by passing data to companies without consumer intervention, according to Fogg.
The Mobile World Congress 2011 conference in Barcelona next month could well see some interesting innovations and technologies from companies and organisations like the GSMA, Foog said.
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