Feeds

ZigBee searches for a new home

Squeezed into a SIM chip

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The ZigBee Alliance has published a guide to using the standard in telecommunications, based around fitting a ZigBee node inside a SIM chip.

ZigBee Telecom Services is one of a handful of new additions to the standard, including healthcare and smart metering, but the guide (pdf) is entirely based on the idea of fitting a ZigBee radio into a standard GSM SIM, something that Telecom Italia promised to show us in 2006 - and we're still waiting.

The idea is sound. Getting ZigBee into a SIM would provide compatibility with billions of GSM handsets, users could interact through the SIM Toolkit and the phone could be used for home automation, financial transactions and so forth. It could also encourage TV/AV manufacturers to adopt the standard for remote controls, if they could offer instant compatibility with every phone on the market.

SIMs have a standard interface system, known as the SIM Toolkit, which allows applications executed on the SIM to present a text-menu interface to the user on just about any GSM handset. Smartphones can replace that text interface with something prettier, but communicate with the SIM over the same mechanism. A ZigBee-equipped SIM could therefore control one's TV or heating using any phone with an interface commensurate to the handset, assuming one's TV and heating are ZigBee-equipped.

Which they aren't.

Despite knocking around for years ZigBee remains an industrial product used in vertical markets. Partly that's because it's a solution looking for a problem, but partly because competing standards muddy the water too much for manufacturers of white goods to make a leap into wireless.

Competing standard Z-Wave is more tightly controlled, to ensure interoperability. Today you can buy Z-Wave controllers, light switches and plug sockets, while the only ZigBee kit to cross the El Reg desk, ever was a home automation rig from AlertMe.com - now being pitched as a carbon-reduction technology rather than wireless networking.

But getting ZigBee into a SIM would make the technology much more accessible. RF SIM and SIMFi have both demonstrated it's possible to maintain a 2.4GHz connection from within a mobile phone, so the Z-SIM should be a lot more practical than it was when Telecom Italia first announced it, and the ZigBee Telecom Services spec is entirely reliant on the existence of such a thing.

Just to be sure, we asked the ZigBee Alliance for a demonstration of a Z-SIM, only to be told that we'd have to speak to Telecom Italia. We explained that we'd already been waiting four years and were told that a contact would be forthcoming - but we haven't heard back yet.

ZigBee on a SIM really is a good idea, but announcing it every five years is no way to inspire confidence when the competition is already on the shelves. Until we've held a Z-SIM in our hands we'll reserve judgement, and we'll be sure to let you know when or if that happens. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Apple patent LOCKS drivers out of their OWN PHONES
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you text that
Microsoft signs Motorola to Android patent pact – no, not THAT Motorola
The part that Google never got will play ball with Redmond
Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc
Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.