Another Internet of Things-related development today: Neul has cemented some high-profile industry support for Weightless, its would-be global, open, royalty-free standard for M2M comms which utilizes TV white space frequencies to allow machines to talk to each other — with the formation today of a special interest group (SIG) that aims to accelerate the adoption of Weightless. It has also put out a call for more industry players to join the SIG.
ARM, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, CSR and Neul have signed the Weightless ‘SIG Promoter Agreement,’ which details how they will back its mission to establish a new standard and encourage global adoption. The standard the SIG will define is said to be on track for completion in early 2013. As well as a common set of standards for powering M2M comms, other key components required to power the Internet of Things are a chipset costing under $2, a range of up to 10km and a battery life of 10 years, according to the SIG.
Professor William Webb, CEO of Weightless, noted in a statement: “This is a very important milestone for Weightless. The SIG now has a board comprising leading players spanning processors, networks, chipsets and innovative wireless technologies. Weightless has gained a solid legal framework enabling royalty-free licensing of terminal-related technology. Our plan is to rapidly grow membership from our current base of 50 high-technology companies and I would strongly encourage interested parties to join this world-changing initiative.”
Predictions for the number of connected devices that will be chattering away to each other in the not-too-distant future typically number in the tens of billions. Earlier this year the International Telecommunications Union forecast 25 billion connected devices would be online by 2020. Other forecasts put the number at 50 billion.
Unlike smartphones and other human-operated connected devices where penetration levels are tied (however loosely) to population levels, there are no practical limits on the number of objects that can be connected to the network — hence Weightless’ emphasis on providing a dedicated comms channel for M2M to avoid burdening cellular or other wireless networks used for human communications.