'Weightless' M2M group issues call for more partners

A group of UK technology companies including semiconductor designer ARM and network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide is looking for new partners as it ramps up efforts to create a communications standard for M2M services.

The companies have recently set up a special interest group (SIG) to accelerate the adoption of Weightless, a royalty-free and open standard that lets machines communicate with one another over TV white-space spectrum.

White-space spectrum includes frequencies that are unused or underused, often because TV channels in many parts of the world are left vacant.

ARM (Cambridge, UK) and Cable & Wireless Worldwide (London, UK), together with CSR (Cambridge, UK), another semiconductor designer, and Neul (Cambridge, UK), the standard’s main developer, have signed a so-called ‘SIG Promoter Agreement’ detailing how they intend to roll out the standard worldwide.

They say the standard is on track for completion in early 2013 and is needed to boost the take-up of M2M services that rely on short to mid-range machine communications.

According to the group, the key requirements for M2M communications include a chipset cost under $2, a range of up to 10km and a battery life of ten years.

“The SIG now has a Board comprising leading players spanning processors, networks, chipsets and innovative wireless technologies,” said Professor William Webb, the group’s chief executive, in a statement.

“Weightless has gained a solid legal framework enabling royalty-free licensing of terminal-related technology,” he said. “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.”

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