Some of the more significant pain points to IoT have the potential to be reduced through eSIM. The GSMA-specified eUICC technology that has been on the market since 2016 allows for a more future-proofed, carrier-agnostic approach to IoT through many key benefits. One of those major benefits is auto-provisioning, which allows organisations using IoT, as well as device manufacturers to move away from the need to physically handle SIM cards.
Moving from a SIM that required manual programming, installation, and provisioning to an eSIM creates the ability of auto-provisioning, which creates significant benefits. Auto-provisioning, also known as remote provisioning or zero-touch provisioning, allows the complete remote management of SIM cards. These specifications, as determined by the GSMA in creating the eUICC standard, were made with the intent of:
Enabling non-removable form factors: An eSIM can be embedded or removable, and use cases vary in choosing a preference. For example, in use cases where security might be important, such as protecting against theft in utilities solutions, a non-removable eSIM may be the preference. The eSIM provides the option to be soldered into the device because with auto-provisioning, there is no need to ever physically swap the SIM card.
Changing network operators: Choosing a single network operator for an IoT ecosystem’s connectivity could be restrictive. Once a device a carrier profile is installed and the device is deployed, traditionally the only way to change network providers was to physically change out the SIM. This can be a costly, time-consuming approach for organisations, and ultimately, a deterrent. Auto-provisioning allows for carrier changes over the air, which helps avoid carrier lock-in.
Streamlining logistics: As previously mentioned, the need to swap out SIM cards in the event of a carrier change can create a snare in logistics and add to operational expenses. Particularly in IoT solutions that are widespread or in motion, such as in fleet or logistics, this can be especially tricky. Auto-provisioning makes this process much simpler by allowing new carrier profiles to be downloaded to the eSIM device.
Bulk provisioning: Imagine ordering a thousand eSIM devices from an OEM and being able to provision the entire lot with a touch of a button. With eSIM, that’s possible with bulk provisioning, which can significantly reduce time to market when deploying IoT.
According to GSMA, the estimated number of active IoT devices will reach 75 billion by 2030. Many key trends are anticipated drivers of this widespread adoption of IoT, and the auto-provisioning capabilities of eSIM are among them.
Auto-provisioning allows devices to have connectivity out-of-the-box that is future-proofed and may last a device’s entire lifecycle, which is up to 10 years. Bulk provisioning also allows major rollouts of IoT to occur without the physical hassle of traditional SIM cards. With that capability, auto-provisioning can aid in spurring Massive IoT in the following use cases:
Agriculture: For precision farming, animal and assets tracking, and environmental monitoring, creating an ecosystem of hundreds of devices in agriculture can be possible when leveraging the seamless connectivity of eSIM.
Smart cities and buildings: When devices can be deployed once and enjoy a lifetime of connectivity through auto-provisioning, enabling IoT solutions in large scale throughout cities, buildings, and campuses is simplified.
Utilities: Deploying IoT devices in hard-to-reach, underground, or remote locations becomes less complex when devices are enabled with the auto-provisioning capabilities of eSIM.
Connected Health: Healthcare devices rely heavily on resilient connectivity and in the event of a carrier change or network turndown, the tolerance for interruption in this IoT use case is very minimal.
Assets and logistics: Deploying a single device once without having to worry about changing connectivity needs helps open the supply chain to adoption of IoT for tracking and analytics.
Fleet: Another key vertical that is in constant motion, fleet solutions providers can offer telemetry and Location-Based Services solutions with out-of-the-box, auto-provisioning connectivity.
Industrial: Ruggedised eSIMs used in Industrial IoT monitoring solutions, such as predictive maintenance, can be installed once and have connectivity for the entire device lifecycle. For manufacturing OEMs, leveraging eSIM for devices allows for bulk provisioning and less logistical hassle.
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