The Weightless wireless standard has this week won the backing by a number of UK companies to try and establish it as the way forward for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
ARM, Vodafone-owned Cable and Wireless Worldwide (C&WW) and CSR have all signed a special interest group (SIG) agreement, alongside Cambridge firm Neul to push the standard forward and encourage its adoption by the wider industry.
Weightless focuses on providing connectivity in the short or midrange between machines using white space spectrum – the frequencies made available to all for free.
The royalty-free standard includes features such as flexible data rates, changeable depending on traffic type or environment, frequency-hopping abilities and a particular focus on low power consumption.
This will enable numerous electronic devices, from traffic lights to fridges, to communicate with one another and help in the creation with the “internet of things” (IoT) – using connected devices and their data to benefit daily lives.
“The IoT is the engine for economic growth in the next decade, much of which will come from new and innovative applications. This new generation of smart devices and applications simply haven’t been possible before the emergence of a ubiquitous IoT communication network,” said James Collier, CEO of Neul.
The internet of things is the engine for economic growth in the next decade
James Collier, CEO, Neul
“Weightless will enable this new growth and Neul is excited to be part of the SIG that will make it a reality.”
The finalised standard is not expected to be complete until 2013, but by gaining high-profile backers now it hopes to entice more equipment manufacturers towards using the standard, making widespread adoption more feasible.
“This is a very important milestone for Weightless,” said William Webb, CEO of Weightless.
“The SIG now has a board comprising leading players spanning processors, networks, chipsets and innovative wireless technologies.
“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,” said William Webb.
“As data levels soar across the world, new ways need to be found to ensure wireless communication can be seamless,” said Mike Muller, chief technology officer at ARM.
“This includes the next wave of connectivity across smart grids, enhanced healthcare, smart cities, asset tracking, sensors and future applications as yet unimagined.
“With common standards we can all benefit from intelligence embedded and connected everywhere, so the ARM team is excited about the huge potential this standard will unlock,” said Mike Muller.
The eventual goal of the standard is to create a compatible chipset for less than $2, providing a range of up to 10km and a battery life of 10 years.