As IoT has exploded over the past decade, organisations have traditionally relied on cellular connectivity delivered via SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards for their IoT deployments. These SIM cards contain unique information that identifies the IoT device to a specific carrier to facilitate connectivity and data transfer. However, legacy SIM cards can only support one carrier profile at a time, locking businesses into a single carrier network and technology. This makes it highly inefficient and expensive to change carriers, upgrade to new cellular technologies, or manage complex global deployments.
In case you missed our previous blog, eSIM 101: An Introduction to eSIM for IoT, the limitations of SIM cards has prompted the development of eSIM technologies, delivering hardware-based SIM solutions that alleviate the challenges described above. eSIMs operate as a single SIM card, universally compatible with any cellular carrier or technology (2G, 3G, LTE, NB-IoT, etc.) that can support multiple carrier profiles at one time, managed via Over-the-Air (OTA), remote provisioning.
The use case most people associate with eSIM is the “active switching” use case, which enables an IoT device to intelligently and automatically switch to the optimal carrier profile. However, the market for this type of solution is still immature as cellular operators are hesitant to surrender roaming revenues to local carriers. There are two significant, lesser-known IoT eSIM use cases that are currently being effectively implemented to simplify the complexity of IoT and foster continued growth and scalability:
Challenge: With a rapidly evolving IoT connectivity marketplace, there are a number of reasons why an IoT solution provider may want to change cellular providers, including:
Most IoT solutions are ideally designed for longevity, but IoT devices are often times geographically dispersed, or embedded in complex systems, making them difficult to access. Should an organisation need to change connectivity providers, technicians need to be sent to physically execute the SIM swap. This process can be extremely costly and complex, resulting in deteriorated returns on IoT investments. Further complicating this issue is the fact that, for various reasons, many organisations choose to solder SIMs to their connected devices making SIM swaps not possible at all.
Solution: eSIM technologies can technically support any carrier profile and cellular technology for those carriers who elect to share their profiles with eSIM providers. This empowers organisations to configure the device connectivity profile remotely, eliminating the need for truck-rolls and field technician deployments. Leveraging an eSIM approach for this use case delivers considerable business benefits, including mitigated operational risks, competitive flexibility, and geographic scalability.
Challenge: Many manufacturers that build high-value connected assets distribute their products to businesses that utilise the devices across many geographic regions. Provisioning this equipment to the appropriate cellular network for each customer presents a number of challenges:
Solution: With an eSIM solution, global manufacturers can use a single SKU eSIM with all of their connected devices, regardless of where they will be deployed. Once the device arrives at its destination, it can be remotely provisioned to the appropriate carrier profile based on its location. This provides OEM organisations with multiple benefits, including the ability to optimise network connectivity with the best regional carrier while ensuring compliance with in-country regulations, streamlined operations by simplifying logistical processes, and enhanced control via centralised management of which networks are utilised in each region.
eSIM represents the next significant evolution in IoT, and businesses that embrace its benefits will gain a competitive edge. The International Telecommunications Union report predicted that by 2020, close to one billion mobile and IoT devices will be shipped with eSIM technologies each year.
So the time is now to begin exploring what eSIM means for your business. Get started by familiarising yourself with how eSIM works and how it can deliver tangible business benefits by trying the KORE eSIM Starter Kit.
Marco Bijvelds, KORE's VP International Product Management, shares insight into IoT and more!
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