Smart Card Web Server: A practical approach to changing handsets

At SIMposium held in Vienna at the end of April, there were some distinct grumbles about the lack of progress in several directions, in particular about how the telecom industry’s pre-occupation with standards has held up many SIM developments.

So it’s good to discover that Smart Card Web Server (SCWS) is galloping along, and it could have big implications for getting applications onto the SIM – and soon.

Don’t confuse this with the earlier iteration of SCWS. As Gary Thwaite, technology manager, devices and SIM, Telefonica O2, explained, it’s moved away from black and white text to full colour and graphics; from being an unknown position on the SIM menu to top level SIM positions and the SIM Toolkit UI is now fully divorced from SIM standards to facilitate the faster development of new UI features.

SCWS is work undertaken by SCaG (Smart Card activity Group) as part of the GSMA Smart SIM Project, but it originated with the Open Mobile Alliance, whose documentation describes it as:

Gwen Edwards of FT Orange, who is heavily involved in the Smart SIM project, explains, “The aim of the project is to figure out how can we utilise new SIM technologies (SCWS, HSP & HD cards) to address problematic uses cases, for the benefit of the industry and our customers?”

A great example is when a customer changes handset and want to move data and settings across from the old one. This has become a complex business with MMS, WAP, internet as well as contacts and email accounts. Users want access to familiar operator applications without downloading and independently of handset types.

As they tend to struggle with this, the operators get a flood of complaints and lose revenue to boot, which is why they want to offer handsets with embedded services and applications, regardless of the handset and its OS, so that users simply put the SIM in their new phone and that’s that.

Operators are also keen to avoid time-consuming negotiation and implementation with vendors for handset customisation, while handset vendors are under pressure to meet the wide variety of device requirements from different operators. Customising handset features based on operator requirements results in the increase of development time and cost.

Work started in earnest on this matters last autumn, but gathered momentum on the first quarter, according to Edwards, on Phase I. This covers usage case development and prioritisation, then the definition of business requirements, gap analysis and market
plan definition.

Phase II will begin in Q309  and will encompass the case implementation guide, with trials to follow in Q4 and a white paper.

The group would like participation from more chipset vendors, device manufacturers, SIM vendors, and operators. the next Smart SIM meeting is on 9th June in Munich – please contact [email protected] access the project on GSMA
infocentre, or participate in this project.

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