6/20/2002 - Connect OneTM announced that two wireless technology innovators - Eliot SA in France and mCommerce Online Limited (mCoMo) in Hong Kong - have released products using Connect One's iChipTM Internet ControllerTM chip to enable their wireless devices to send and receive data using Internet protocols over GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks. The devices are first among a new generation of iChip- and GRPS-enabled products that take full advantage of the higher speed, lower cost and immediate access of GPRS connectivity.
The GPRS network is a packet-based wireless technology that is ideal for data communication and is built on top of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network. GSM is used by 68% of the world's one billion wireless users, according to the EMC World Cellular Database. Most GSM carriers worldwide are currently rolling out GPRS networks.
Eliot SA, based in Grenoble, France, is introducing a fleet management system that includes iChip in a mobile data collection terminal which is installed on tractor-trailers. The system uses Internet protocol (IP) technology to provide trucking companies with a real-time, state-of-the-art productivity tool that puts trucks online with their operations center. The system includes the mobile terminal; access to a value-added, private IP-based communication network; and an information server, located in the customer's premises, that manages the data collected from trucks en route. iChip sends the data to the operations center via TCP sockets, email, HTTP and FTP protocols.
"GPRS provides a basic IP connection, but that was not enough for us," said Franck Tirard, Eliot's strategy and development manager. "Connect One's iChip responded to our need for the complete Internet protocol stack. Plus, Connect One took into account our special performance requests. They delivered a product that did exactly what we needed for our telematics application."
Telematics-wireless delivery of voice and data automotive services to vehicles-is expected to be a killer application for IP messaging. Forrester Research predicts that telematics will become a $20 billion industry worldwide by 2006. An April 2002 study by the Telematics Research Group forecasts that nearly 20% of all new cars worldwide will include telematics by 2007, growing from 1.9 million cars in 2001 to over 12 million cars, a compound annual growth rate of 36%. They predict that 40.8 million cars, or 5% of all cars on the road worldwide, will use telematics by 2007.
Hong Kong's mCommerce Online Limited (mCoMo) is using iChip to IP-enable its customized second-generation (2.5G) mobile communication products and data applications for fleet management and data collection. MCoMo's original products used the Short Message Service (SMS) of the GSM wireless network for data collection, but they wished to take advantage of the GPRS network for low-cost, 7 x 24 monitoring. Converting their products' operating mode from SMS to GPRS-enabled was not easy and straightforward, due to fundamental differences between the two systems.
"Connect One's iChip provided a faster and easier path to migrate our product from SMS to GPRS-enabled and to catch market needs," said Dr. Andrew Lai, mCoMo's vice president of engineering. "It enabled us to avoid Internet programming, while we put all of our efforts into utilizing the GPRS wireless network for regular reporting over the Internet."
"mCoMo and Eliot are in the vanguard of companies utilizing Internet protocols to improve their product's value proposition," according to Alan Singer, Connect One's vice president of sales and marketing. "They realized that their systems needed enhanced IP connectivity, but they lacked this expertise. By selecting Connect One's iChip Internet Controller, they could be the first in their markets to offer the most flexible, advanced and field-proven IP technology to their customers."
iChip is an updateable Internet peripheral chip that offloads Internet connectivity tasks from any host processor and works with any (or no) operating system. Internet protocols and configuration parameters are stored in iChip's onboard flash memory, are independent of the host application, and can be remotely updated over the Internet. iChip interfaces to a device's host processor via a serial connection and Connect One's high-level AT+iTM Application Programming Interface. The AT+i protocol enables manufacturers with limited Internet programming capability to quickly and easily Internet-enable their devices by writing just a few commands in their application. iChip currently works with GSM and GPRS modems from Nokia, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, Wavecom and Falcom (who have designed iChip into their A3Di GSM modem and F35i GSM/GPRS module). iChip also works with wireless modems using the AMPS, CDMA and TDMA protocols.
Pricing and Availability
Suggested pricing for iChip is $20 for over 10,000 units. iChip is available in North America from Arrow Electronics (NYSE: ARW), http://www.arrow.com. Please visit Connect One's Web site at www.connectone.com for a complete list of distributors and representatives.
About Connect One
Connect One develops and manufactures chips, software, and hardware that enable manufacturers of industrial, commercial and consumer devices to reduce the time, cost and complexity of connecting devices to the Internet. Connect One is privately owned, with offices in Santa Clara, CA and Kfar Saba, Israel. For further information, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.connectone.com or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
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