London, 30th July 2010 - SIMalliance, the global association of SIM card manufacturers, announces that the fourth edition of its SIMposium conference gathered more than 250 participants in Rome from 33 countries over the two days. Participants represented the whole mobile services ecosystem, of which 27% were operator companies.
Caught somewhere between evolution and revolution, the upbeat mood in Rome reflected the opportunities on offer for the SIM* ecosystem. On the one hand, delegates were encouraged by the continued operator support for the SIM, while on the other the emergence of cloud services and the competing development platforms of Apple and Android was causing executives to rethink strategies, technologies and most of all, business models.
A buoyant market for mobile transactions and the growth of machine-to-machine (M2M/ Internet Of Things) communications - with the SIM at the very heart - were reasons for optimism.
As were new consumer trends, most notably the popularity of the netbook and, thanks in no small part to the Apple’s iPad, the (re)emergence of the tablet. These ‘always-on’ devices help bridge the gap between the traditionally mobile 3G/HSDPA and more ‘fixed’ WiFi worlds. Again the (U)SIM* is playing a key enabling role – both in crossing the connectivity divide for the consumer and offering ease of set-up (and faster time-to-market) for the operator.
But the one overarching theme in the halls and breakout rooms was a belief that the industry must continue to champion its relevancy in today’s converged world. Here the cloud was key, and the SIM’s pivotal role in locking and unlocking access. Major Deal Team founder Bob Pike and Co-Chairman of the Conference was certainly taken with the opportunities here and felt extending the alliance’s, and the industry’s, influence outside of the traditional Telco sphere would be critical.
”With the likes of Apple and Google in the apps development market we need to think about the whole network, not simply the mobile one,” he said. Pike believes the SIM, and smart cards in general, have massive roles to play in enabling and securing access to cloud services; a role he believes could be undertaken by thin client software from players in the IT world “but not without significant cost and complexity”.
The SIM and smart cards already provide proven levels of user authentication and offer a logical next step for mobile and ‘over the top’ internet players alike - steps already being taken by the Smart Card Web Server technology.
SIMposium Chairman, Informa’s Mark Newman offers a similarly thought provoking view of future opportunities; this time routed in the mobile telecoms space. ”The SIM’s potential as a platform for innovation extends beyond the converged world. With Europe and North America so ‘smart phone centric’, competition between the platforms is intense. Emerging markets, while not as internet-led are no less hungry for new applications and services.”
Newman believes the SIM is ideally placed to become the innovation platform of choice here, helping operators deliver service differentiation, and revenues. And follow that logic through, innovating on the SIM in these regions positions the platform well for the day when mobile broadband reaches outside of the developed world.
One thing that Pike, Newman and many of the delegates agreed on was the need for the card industry, and its representative, to continue to highlight the SIM as a truly capable environment for service innovation and delivery in the face of stiff competition from a new generation of platforms.
Should it be successful, and there is ample evidence from SIMposium that it will be, the SIM card’s future is not simply assured, but absolutely critical to the mobility strategies of traditional and new generation service providers.
SIMalliance is now taking registrations for its regional stop: SIMposium Asia on 28th & 29th September 2009 at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, co-located with Mobile VAS Asia & produced in partnership with Informa Telecoms & Media .
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Note to Editors:
*The UICC (Universal Integrated Circuit Card) most commonly called SIM Card, is a standardized physical and logical platform for smart card multi applications. The SIM or USIM (Universal Subscriber Identification Module) is the application which sits on the UICC card and which is used typically by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to authenticate the user in a network.
About SIMalliance: Putting the SIM at the heart of the new mobile eco-system
By operating outside the singular commercial interests of any individual SIM card player, SIMalliance is able to pinpoint the mission critical services on the horizon and help steer their development to meet the practical needs of the mobile market.
With SIMalliance members responsible for nine in every ten SIM cards sold worldwide, the collective vision of the association is uniquely placed to shape SIM developments and the impact they will have on the new generation of mobile services. From their standpoint, the challenge couldn’t be clearer for the protagonists in the mobile eco-system.
SIMalliance Members are: Datang, Eastcompeace, Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Incard, Inkript, Microelectronica, Oberthur Technologies, Prism, Morpho, Watchdata and Wuhan Tianyu
SIMalliance Strategic Partners are: COMPRION, FCI and Movenda