The eSIM and the Internet Of Things

The eSIM and the Internet Of Things

  • Starhome Mach, a leading player in the Internet Of Things (IoT) and M2M (Machine to Machine) service provider industries, is one of many companies looking to the eSIM to help them better manage their ‘in field’ assets. (Internet connected machines outside of WiFi coverage.)
  • Automation software which assists with the management of these sort of business solutions (such as Starhome’s) will lead to a more connected future. It seems likely that different industries will be able to benefit from real time device management via e-SIM technologies.
  • The eSIM is set to change the way in which a digitally connected world operates.

Managing the Internet Of Things

The Internet Of Things (IoT) is now a familiar concept for many. That’s particularly true for anyone involved in logistics or who has company computing or machinery assets outside their office. That’s most people, including governments and private enterprises.

The IoT  is largely based on cheap sensors which interact with machines to provide status information. The technology offers a long list of money saving opportunities.

There is one new addition to the telecommunications technology ecosystem that could make a huge difference to the IoT. eSIMs (or ’embedded’ SIMs) can be used to connect smart cities, eHealth machines and any other asset to the internet where they can be monitored. In the event of a hardware failure, for example, a maintenance technician could be sent automatically to replace an X-Ray machine in a hospital, even before the operator became aware there was a fault with it.

The eSIM lends itself well to these more outdoor environments. It’s cheaper to deploy than physical SIM alternatives, especially when put in place at the point of a machine’s manufacturer. eSIMs are not subject to some of the risks associated with normal SIMs. They can, for example, be used in dusty environments with a substantially reduced rat of failure.

As recently reported, Starhome Mach a leading player in the global inter-carrier, M2M, and IoT service provider industries, has moved into the industry of creating e-SIM subscription technologies. Starhome Mach will be using the eSIM to complete the entire automation process, as well as improve on the management and connectivity when it comes to IoT. Similar solutions are offered with more consumer centric focuses by G&D and others.

The eSIM management software being developed by Starhome will be benefit industries such as electrical and automotive manufacturing. Devices like smart metres can be monitored and connected to the network provider, with changes being executed remotely using eSIM technology. Connected devices can even, alert the provider if the meter has expired. Car manufacturers in one country which export their cars to a different country, would no longer be limited by the different network providers.

“While the operational side of downloading a new identity to the SIM is well defined, the actual business aspect such as deciding when and how to ‘localise’ devices in a global deployment can be complex. Decisions need to take into account the costs in each country, the available quality of service (QoS) and other options that might be available such as permanent roaming.” – Guy Reiffer, VP Marketing & Partnerships.

The same technology can be used to manage any type of eSIM connected infrastructure including

  • Smart TVs
  • Internet-connected cars
  • Fitness devices
  • Smart watches

There are even more things out there waiting to become a part of a complete ecosystem of the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital eldercare, smart fabrics, and autonomous cars are just a few that are knocking on the IoT door. All these things need seamless connectivity 24/7 to be productive.

IoT Automation with e-SIM technologies

At the moment operators who wish to use embedded soft SIM technologies, have to work on a one to one basis to establish a workable eSIM solution. The right one can depend on several factors such as the location of the device, inter-operator agreements and the service levels required. Starhome Mach’s clever approach to the problem, instead, provides the IoT business a facility to connect automatically with their fleet.  The entire process is automated, which makes it easier to manage assets in the field and keeps costs of that sort of roll out low.

Benefits include:

  • The ability to switch IoT devices between service providers for business reasons :
    Tens or hundreds of IoT connected devices can be moved between plans as data pricing falls or switched to a new operator alltogether.
  • Solving the problems of permanent roaming : 
    In circumstances under which devices are manufactured in one country and distributed worldwide, those assets can be centrally managed.
  • Better QOS :
    Centralised management ensures better quality of service for critical devices such as life-saving equipment.

Once in place, the commercial agreements behind eSIM technologies can be easily adapted. Network agreements can be re-negotiated and, over time, where available additional parameters and network QoS can be put in place when they are developed by carriers.

This applies even internationally. Starhome Mach’s roaming expertise is currently used by more than 300 different operators around the world and increasing each year as new industries come on line. Its technology is rapidly becoming an industry leader, allowing them to accelerate total implementation of eSIM technology.

E-SIM technology making life easier for BMW

If you can imagine a BMW manufactured in Germany and shipped overseas, containing e-SIM technologies. The car wakes up when first turned on and finds out it’s in Australia. It then connects to Telstra because the business rules say to do that in this country. The owner of the car doesn’t even have to call BMW or Telstra. BMW don’t have to be involved. It all just ‘works’.

New eSIM specifications link to better connectivity

The GSM Association is the trade body that has the job of representing the interests more than 800 members globally. The list includes mobile operators and another 300 companies who are associate members. Presently the association is advocating a common unique global remote SIM standard – agreements which would apply to the eSIM. Its aim is to put in place interoperability of all devices through the simplifying of the process of connecting IoT gadgets by establishing closer collaboration between both mobile network operators (MNOs) and the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Quick off the mark are both Samsung and Apple, typical rivals, which are, in this case, intent on working collaboratively to ensure that standardisation for the standards eSIM need are put in place. The benefit to them, of course, is that more consumer oriented devices can be created and marketed.

OEMs and other device makers will soon discover how eSIMs, being so much smaller than conventional SIM cards, could be a game changer for creating slimmer, more easily stored devices.

How the eSIM will enable new revenue streams for Mobile Network Operators

When the eSIM is launched, MNOs (Mobile Network operators) will then be able to access the extremely lucrative IoT consumer market. For example, the market for connected cars market is starting to present itself as a huge financial opportunity, so MNOs are competing to get their own connectivity solutions into these cars.

  • Better telematics :
    The use of an eSIM, which is soldered to each car’s telematics boxes allows connectivity to take place throughout the vehicle.
  • Better security :
    Security has been an issue up to now with connected cars using traditional removable SIMs, but this won’t be such an issue with the eSIM, as it is seemingly capable of delivering the highest level of security that is what is currently lacking in connected cars at present.
  • Lower emmissions :
    Vehicle emissions are constantly under the spotlight in Britain, but in Exeter, a city in the South West of England, in its efforts to reduce such emissions while improving engine efficiency, road safety and driver behaviour, has implemented a pilot program through the use of a small telematics connected device. On board software continuously keeps an eye on engine performance. It prompots the driver to drive more carefully and efficiently with simple to read dashboard display & audio alerts. This data also finds its way to a remote server which stores it, so it can be analysed later. Any useful information is transmitted to the vehicle and its driver for further action.

In Conclusion

The eSIM is just one of the reasons the future of IoT (Internet of Things) is surging in popularity. It won’t be long before eSIMs will feature in every aspect of our lives. They will allow for internet access from the homes we live in, to the offices we work at, and the cars in which we drive home in. I

t’s not hard to imagine stepping in to a shared car facility, for example, and having your SIM profile brought to you – downloaded over the air to the vehicles eSIM. Data charges could then be at your own rates. Cars could be found with an app providing real time location information to users. The eSIM will draw forward the adoption of these new opportunities.

 

Sources :

This is an unusually good discussion of the impact that the eSIM is likely to have on the Internet Of Things : https://www.mis-asia.com/tech/internet/why-esim-is-crucial-for-managing-iot/

 

The GSMA covers the eSIM and it’s behaviours well, as you’d expect : https://www.gsma.com/rsp/

 

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.