Misconceptions about Embedded SIM Cards (eSIMs) for IoT are keeping companies from adopting this new technology. This is disadvantageous, as eSIMs are crucial for patching and successful secure IoT deployment.
eSIMs are slowly replacing standard SIM cards in IoT devices and products such as smartwatches. They are also making their way into the machine-to-machine world.
However, the rollout is being slowed by unresolved conflicts between competing technical standards and tightened restrictions on global data governance regulations. Despite the need for greater security for IoT devices, removing the barriers to adoption is unlikely in the short term.
Machine-to-machine, or M2M, is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables network devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans.
Mainly led by the automotive and transportation industries, eSIMS also contribute to tracking functions in healthcare, smart mobility, utilities and other sectors. But eSIM technology remains controversial so far, noted Noam Lando, CEO and co-founder of the global connectivity provider Woven tape.
Webbing provides an enterprise-grade solution for Fortune 500 and IoT/M2M companies, as well as an embedded solution for various manufacturers around the world. The implementation is part of a phasing process to ensure a secure and continuous internet connection for all devices, wherever they are in the world.
Lando said that “eSIM technology is a game-changer in telecom. It is completely digitizing the mobile subscription delivery process. As with any disruptive technology, there is a lot of debate and discussion about how to better understand its benefits, dispel misconceptions. and its impact on accelerating IoT use cases.”
Why all the fuss?
We asked Lando to show below the circuit boards why eSIM technology is making such a stir across the industry.
TechNews All: Is the tech upgrade to eSIMS worth the ongoing turmoil?
Noam Lando: eSIM technology promises to establish and maintain cost-effective connectivity that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, no matter where the device is manufactured or deployed, as well as ultimate control. With the promise of eSIM technology, enterprises can scale their IoT deployments globally, reduce total cost of ownership and business process management costs, and shorten time to market.
This creates a lot of hype, especially when device makers like Apple, Microsoft and Google include eSIM as a standard feature in their new devices.
I feel a “BUT” here. There always seems to be a BUT in the making. So what’s the big BUT around eSIM development?
Lando: However, when companies dig deeper into the implementation of eSIM technology, they realize that there are two standards: consumer and machine-to-machine (M2M). They don’t know which standard to use and often realize that implementing eSIM technology is not as easy for their IoT devices as it is for smartphones, laptops and tablets.
So there is a lot of discussion about the two standards and their pros and cons, especially around M2M.
What are the disadvantages of standard SIM cards?
Lando: For traditional SIM cards, the provider provisioning is done at the production level. They can only host one profile and are not reprogrammable. That’s why you need a new SIM card when you switch mobile providers. This is not ideal for IoT deployments. Especially global.
Noam Lando, CEO at Webbing
Once the SIM card is deployed, you have vendor lock-in. With thousands and even millions of devices in an IoT deployment, it’s impractical to switch SIM cards when you want to switch wireless carriers. It requires a site visit and the map can be physically difficult to access.
In addition, there are issues with meeting the global trend to enforce regulatory requirements in communications services and data management. These include restrictions on data leaving the country and international companies requiring localized deployments with local wireless carriers.
This requires storage, management and deployment of a number of wireless carrier-specific product SKUs that drive up production and logistics costs.
The appeal of eSIMs seems obvious. What are the main benefits?
Lando: eSIM technology provides a robust, scalable solution to the limitations of traditional SIM. What makes an eSIM unique is the technological advancements made with the UICC, the software of the SIM, now referred to as the eUICC.
That new technology follows a new standard developed by the GSMA. It is remotely programmable and reprogrammable, can host multiple mobile plans, and simplifies mobile carrier selection, contracting, and onboarding with over-the-air (OTA) provisioning.
I feel another BUT here in the making. What are the unresolved issues with eSIM replacements?
Lando: Consumer and M2M are implemented differently. The consumer standard focuses on consumer devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, wearables and other IoT devices with an interactive environment for end users. It is secure in design, can host multiple wireless carrier profiles and facilitates carrier swaps. However, it is designed for use by private consumers.
How suitable for other uses are eSIMs?
Lando: The M2M standard is aimed at industrial M2M and IoT devices such as cars, water meters, trackers, smart factories and other components used in an industrial, non-end user interactive environment.
The M2M eSIM standard is also secure by design. It facilitates carrier migration and in theory provides centralized remote carrier profile management and delivery. However, it is not as cut and dry as it seems.
That said, why isn’t upgrading all that promising yet?
Lando: M2M eSIM implementation is cumbersome, time consuming and has long investment cycles. It requires collaboration between the enterprise, eSIM manufacturers, and the wireless carrier throughout the entire manufacturing process for implementation.
What are the biggest misconceptions about eSIMs for IoT?
Lando: The biggest misconception about eSIM for IoT is that the benefits it brings to consumer devices can also be applied to IoT. Businesses are quickly realizing that they need to implement a different standard for IoT/M2M, which requires an SM-DP (Subscription Manager – Data Preparation) and SM-SR (Subscription Manager – Secure Routing) to provide and remotely manage carrier subscriptions . The M2M standard is cumbersome and requires a significant investment of money and time to orchestrate the deployment of wireless carriers.
Where do you see the battle between competing standards going?
Lando: Looking at mobile data connectivity, there is not a big difference between M2M and IoT device needs when it comes to Remote SIM Provisioning. The benefits of eSIM technology (eUICC) are even greater for M2M devices, as they tend to have a longer life cycle and the demand to switch carriers at some point is high.
This can be for commercial or technical reasons. Therefore, M2M devices are also likely to get eSIMs instead of standard SIMs.
Developers prefer eSIMs to solve problems with IoT and embedded firmware patches. eSIM hardware and eUICC components are certified under the GSMA’s Security Accreditation Scheme (SAS). This guarantees a very high level of security. In addition, mobile connectivity is inherently secure: data is encrypted and users are securely identified.
What are the most critical issues facing IoT and embedded technologies?
Lando: The most critical issue facing IoT deployments is carrier lock-in and dealing with various global regulatory requirements. In such cases, enterprises need local deployments and local wireless carriers. Companies with global deployment need the flexibility to switch providers easily and efficiently to comply with local regulations.
Why aren’t companies proactively adopting eSIM technology?
Lando: Our experience shows that companies want the promise of eSIM technology, but the current ecosystem cannot deliver it. The two eSIM standards do not take into account the need for companies to manage their fleet of devices.
On the one hand, business devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, scanners and the like fall under the consumer standard. Thus, with centralized eSIM management, companies do not have full control over the installation and management of carrier profiles. The consumer standard requires the end-user to authorize the installation of carrier profiles with the device in hand.
Meanwhile, the M2M standard for IoT deployments is cumbersome. They require a significant investment of money and time to orchestrate the deployment of wireless carriers.
It also limits customer choice due to a complicated implementation to switch between carriers.
This is one of the reasons we developed WebbingCTRL, an eSIM, with a management platform, that can be easily and remotely configured as any wireless carrier’s profile, paving the way for the adoption of eSIM technology in the IoT environment. room.