Smart Business

eSIMs: The next evolution of the SIM card

GSM has been around for two decades but its use in IoT has not been helped by the fact that a SIM card, once installed, is hard to reprogram. eSIMs, coupled with eUICC technology, solve that problem over-the-air without needing to physically change the embedded SIM. Is this the next evolution of the SIM card?

by John Freeman

Embedded circuit card (eUICC) technology represents a radical change in terms of how customers can universal integrated select and change service provider profiles based on criteria or business rules of their choosing. The automotive industry has been especially eager to embrace this new technology because it gives them an exciting new way to optimize costs, increase flexibility, and simplify the logistics involved in car production, distribution networks and after-sales support. Car-makers in particular are promoting mobility services such as car-sharing, parking or charging assistance and can now even extend vehicle longevity or upgrade vehicle functions through over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

eSIMs: John Freeman Arkessa

John Freeman is chief technology and operations officer at Arkessa and leads technology, product and operations for the global connectivity service provider.

An eUICC solution will have significant advantages for IoT devices with very long lifetime in service, deployed in harsh environments or in hard to reach locations. OTA subscription management provides freedom from longterm contract commitments as well as a way to take advantage of market dynamics in the form of improved pricing or coverage options. Customers can also switch providers without recalling devices. Field visits are no longer necessary. And manufacturers can now ft solderable SIMs on the
production line, improving security and removing a source of unreliability.

Global scale

Enterprises selling connected products and services in global markets will profit from eUICC, as will multinational firms with worldwide operations, people and assets. A single SIM can be used in all instances even if the operating destination is unknown or if mobility is required. Remote provisioning capabilities in SIM (eUICC) solutions provide the ability to store and dynamically manage more than one operator profile. Remote provisioning is the ability to change the SIM profile on a deployed product without having to physically change the SIM itself.

eSIMs: The managed service

Using a single, factory-installed SIM makes large-scale deployment possible on an international scale, allowing the user subscription to be updated once the device is in the field. Depending on the application scenario, this might be a one-off operation, or a more frequent one for mobile products or services. Ownership and management of this process is placed in the hands of the OEM or service provider and removes dependency and potential lock-in situations with individual mobile network operators (MNOs).

A single sim can be used everywhere even if the operating destination is unknown

Avnet Silica Smart Solutions: Arkessa
John Freeman
chief technology and operations officer at Arkessa

The multi-dimensional benefts of eUICC go beyond those for OEMs. Deploying IoT devices, in whatever form, into the global market can be made easier by working with the right partners and using made-to-measure technologies. Arkessa supports the wrapping of these elements together in a single managed service, allowing OEMs to focus on their core activities.
From a manufacturing point of view, it is as simple as having a single stock keeping unit (SKU) fitted in the factory. Logistics and distribution can then be optimized, and beyond that sales, marketing and service partners can get creative with data plans to match different usage scenarios based on geography, user credentials, service
plans and features. An eUICC solution can even enable companies to offer Hardware-as-a-Service options as a business model. Managed connectivity is a key enabler. At Arkessa, our experience as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), and our established track-record working in successful ecosystems, makes us a major player, not least because the benefits and capabilities highlighted here are undoubtedly relevant across pretty much every Internet of Things application area. This is particularly true for those companies that are ready to deploy connected products and services to a global or international market, but it also applies to global enterprises with large-scale, internationally-deployed assets or large field-service teams.

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