Author: Robert Varty, CSO Workz Group
The internet of things is one of the fastest-growing technology areas, with worldwide spending expected to reach $745 billion by the end of the year, according to a recent study by the IDC. Embedded SIM cards, also known as eSIM cards, are key components in internet-connected smart devices since they enable mobile connectivity in a far wider range of devices from in-car computers to smart thermostats to wearable technology. Unlike the small plastic SIM cards which were once ubiquitous in mobile phones, eSIM cards are built into the device and provide an essentially virtualized version to make switching cellular network easier.
Because it offers internet connectivity to embedded devices on the move, eSIM is essential for digital transformation. Here’s how this new technology helps drive better business results:
6 ways eSIM technology will transform the internet of things
eSIM is an enabler of internet-connected smart technologies like fleet management and asset tracking systems, which depend on reliable connectivity to cellular networks to function properly. These systems benefit a wide range of businesses, particularly those involved in manufacturing, construction, and logistics, as well as any which need to manage complex supply chains. Here are the key benefits of this new SIM technology for service providers, systems integrators, device manufacturers and businesses in general:
·It reduces the physical space requirements by up to 98% compared to the traditional SIM card, enabling miniaturization for compact embedded systems
·The embedded SIM chips are built to accommodate high durability, with lifespans being up to 10 times longer.
·Devices come with out-of-the-box connectivity which means manufacturers and providers need a single stock-keeping unit which saves the time, money and complexity of having to manually install a plastic SIM card.
·eSIM enables remote management through mobile networks to provide real-time data and management of remote machines for things like asset tracking and predictive maintenance.
·With built-in connectivity redundancy, eSIM software is able to provide devices with multiple network options in the event of low signal strength.
·With this new SIM technology comes a new standard. The GSM Association is the regulatory body behind the eSIM specification and is therefore responsible for addressing security concerns. Its Security Accreditation Scheme is designed to ensure eSIM providers provider high security and interoperability in their solutions.
What are the current adoption rates of eSIM technology?
Although eSIM chips have only been around for a couple of years, shipments of eSIM-based devices are expected to reach almost two-billion units by 2025. Apple was one of the first device manufacturers to offer eSIM connectivity, with its iPhone and Apple Watch range in 2018. A host of Android devices from mobiles, laptops, smartwatches are following suit. Car manufacturers are also using eSIM technology with most makers already including it into their current or forthcoming releases.
While eSIM adoption is still relatively low in the Middle East, Apple’s full integration of the technology into its product range means mass-market adoption is only a matter of time. In the B2B sector, there are several companies driving eSIM adoption through partnerships with IoT device vendors in sectors like utilities, oil, gas, automotive, and smart cities. Major Middle Eastern network operators like Etisalat, Zain, and Du already offer enterprises seamless cellular connectivity for IoT devices with complete connected solutions for remote management and real-time analytics.
4 industries being transformed by eSIM providers
Here’s a few industries benefiting from the new SIM technology already:
·Automotive: eCall technology is an in-vehicle safety system that immediately alerts the emergency services and provides them with GPS location information in the event of a crash. In addition, in-car telemetry to manufacturers can provide never-seen-before insight into vehicle performance, enhancing and accelerating the R&D process.
·Logistics and transport: asset- and fleet-tracking systems allow back-office employees to track vehicles and their cargo using real-time GPS location information.
·Critical infrastructure: industrial control systems empowered by smart technology can send automatic alerts for predictive maintenance and remote management as opposed to costly onsite inspections.
·Healthcare: wearable technology can streamline hospital administrative processes by automating patient-tracking, admission, and discharge.
The explosion of IoT in both the consumer and business world has made eSIM a necessity rather than a mere convenience. As devices are getting smaller, and cellular networks evolve to modern needs with the likes of 5G, a software-based SIM card that enables the provisioning of any IoT device quickly and reliably is the obvious next step in the evolution of mobile networking. The upcoming launch of major 5G networks will further transform the sector and reiterate the need for embedded SIM technology.
For business leaders, eSIM technology is an enabler of digital transformation. By allowing you to implement cellular networking in portable IoT devices like asset-track systems, it provides real-time insights, boosts efficiency, and powers automation – all without geographical boundaries.