Interview: Michel Canitrot, Chairman of the Board, SIMalliance
Prior to joining Gemplus, Michel Canitrot had a long career within the cellular business of Matra, and five years with Nortel.
Smart Insights: SIMposium happens next week in Berlin. It will be an opportunity for a large meeting of all stakeholders in the SIM industry and mobile services eco-system players,.. What will be the major subjects of SIMposium?
Michel Canitrot: The SIM Alliance has originally been created to advance operability between SIM cards, handsets and wireless platforms. Originally, members of the SIMalliance were mainly European card industrialists. We are happy to see members from other locations joining us, such as EastComPeace and Watchdata from China, and more to be announced. These memberships further establish SIMalliance's global footprint and confirm the association’s position as the reference organization for the SIM Industry. SIMalliance also provides a unique source of statistics on the SIM card industry. 2007 data & trends as well as an outlook for 2008 will be presented at SIMposium 2008 next week.
SIMposium 2008, organized by SIMalliance, includes 2 conference days with 75 speakers and 6 different tracks (business and technical). It will be an opportunity for all the actors of the mobile services ecosystem players to discuss convergence of technologies and services and the impact of disruptive architectures – brought by convergence – on the delivery of services. Delegates will discover business models from around the world and learn about successful deployments for generating revenues from Mobile Convergence (Mobile Internet, M2M, Mobile TV, Mobile NFC etc.) & learn how to market these converged services to the Consumer and the role of advertising. It will also be an opportunity for delegates to understand how the SIM is poised to play a pivotal role in these new business models.
SI: Does SIMalliance play a role in standardization, always a central subject in the mobile communication industry?
MC: SIMalliance is not a standardization body. We work as a complement of standardization bodies and forums such as the ETSI, 3GPP, Java Card Forum, OMA, … Either in pre-standardization to work on common proposals or post-standardization to help in the advancement of interoperability by publishing guidelines, recommendation and developing test tools For instance, SIMalliance Mobile TV Security Guidelines do recommend a higher level of security than just the standard. We issued a complete document on Mobile TV including these recommendations, and shortly a qualification process, and a list of testing labs.
SI: How does SIMalliance produce such materials?
MC: We have several working groups bringing together SIM specialists (marketing & technical) from each of the member companies. Through regular meetings, these teams liaise to develop the tools required to advance interoperable and open solutions that would be impossible without such industry cooperation. We have a "High-Speed Interface" working group, which works in close relation with the ETSI and other standardization bodies. The USB protocol has been chosen as the High Speed protocol standard. We have now described how to implement this standard in the Card but also in handset. As the first chips supporting the USB protocol are soon to be available, we expect to see the first handsets implementing the USB protocol coming from Korean vendors in H2/2008.
We also have a working group dealing with the evolution of the S@T browser, one working on the evolution of the phonebook towards a truly personal data management system
SI: SIM Alliance is famous for its "stepping stones". Tell us about them.
MC: The "Java Stepping Stones" are SIMalliance recommendations and guidelines to develop interoperable applications on Java SIM cards. These recommendations are not part of the standard. But they foster a total portability of applications on Java (U)SIM from one SIM vendors to another We've just published a new release of our "Java Stepping Stones", supporting JavaCard release 6.
SI: What are the future projects of the SIMalliance?
MC: We plan to issue more deliverables representing the consensus of the SIM card industry. As an industry association, we have convergent viewpoints on many subjects. The SIMalliance is the right vector to benchmark these viewpoints with the mobile communication industry stakeholders: telecom operators, handset vendors, and newcomers on this scene such as Apple or Google etc…
In the near future, the SIMalliance will issue a White Paper about NFC, reflecting the consensus of the SIM card industry. We also plan to issue a White Paper about the Multimedia Phonebook and the Phonebook Backup processes. There is a real end-user demand on this subject, and operators see phonebook interoperability independently from the handset vendor as an anti-churn measure.
SI: Thanks a lot for your time. And we wish you an excellent SIMposium!