Internet of Things (IoT) solutions using SIM-based cellular technology for connectivity purposes is the pace at which IoT is expanding and embracing more exciting and innovative use cases. While highly compelling, this technology is also creating an equal amount of confusion. Let’s take a look at why this is happening.
M2M to 5G
Large-scale IoT M2M deployments have existed for many years, since the day 2G cellular technology came into the market. Now lying under the IoT umbrella, the legacy M2M plastic SIM card has given way to soldered circuits inside the actual device with data plans and automated network selection. The market is on the way to full maturity, shifting from payment for car washes and valuation booths, vending machines, and refrigeration display units to CCTV, smart lighting, and notifications for waste bin fill levels.
These M2M SIM-based services have become a standard; they have been tried and tested, are reliable and practical, and enable organizations to confidently introduce the technology into their businesses. Shifting from the deployment spectrum and now employing 4G and 5G, deployment has become more scalable with the addition of IoT sensors attached to machines. The bi-directional data transmission to or from applications also allows companies to achieve more precise tracking visibility and distant management of assets such as wind turbines, power generation, heavy equipment, and metering infrastructure anywhere the signal is available.
Fast-growing SIM network connectivity options now have Low Power WAN (LPWAN) variants like Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M (Cat M), specifically developed and incorporated into 5G standalone networks to support millions of battery-powered IoT devices located in remote areas. It also allows enterprises to drastically extend the scale of projects from Phase 1 pilots to mass deployment.
Now popularly addressed as Massive IoT, through which millions of devices and assets can be connected, and with the addition of advanced sensor devices, the range of use cases increases daily. Today, soil sensors are used by farmers to handle scarce water resources in remote regions. Sensors in concrete structures are used during construction to track curing and post-building to measure compressive strain and concrete health.
The combination of networks, big data analytics, and devices all together contribute to the foundation for smart cities and sustainable agriculture. The SIM technology for all these use cases primarily depends on various important technical requirements like range, scalability, security, and low-power consumption.
Critical IoT is another innovative use case field for SIM-based IoT networks. These are used in applications such as real-time sign monitoring at home for healthcare purposes that need highly reliable data delivery and the least delay in obtaining measurements to back-office systems. This application area is growing rapidly as many technology firms are developing innovative wearable technologies that record vital signs like heart rate, oxygen level, sugar level, etc., and provide individuals’ location. It allows care professionals to take quick action in an emergency.
This sector will extend rapidly with high-capacity 5G networks. However, the need for reliable data transmissions across mobile locations might not be possible through one network alone, and it may not be able to deliver the quality of coverage required. Organizations will require a SIM-based technology option capable of roaming, meaning it can work with more than one public network operator to reduce traffic smoothly.
On the other hand, for super-less latency and high-volume operation in fixed locations like industry automation IoT, private 5G is the most demanded option. It allows for prioritizing specific data traffic flows. This feature is best suited for warehouses, factories, stadiums, and large buildings that face poor or low mobile signal indoors and cannot provide reliable data services.
The substantial development in IoT connectivity across the world has increased the expectation of customers. Customers are now looking for more simplified contracts and service models from their providers to meet their requirements. They expect low power connections for sensors and high bandwidth applications that can easily connect to their real state assets to deliver immediate and proper internet access.
This has been a challenge, especially in the international market, due to various commercial agreements and different service models among contending carriers. There are also limitations on certain types of network access per-country basis. Network operators are expected to be flexible, which hardly ever happens. They need to accept and allow the growth and development of a new generation of network aggregators and smaller service providers geared to cater to customer needs.
Today, aggregators play an important role in SIM-based mobile market growth and development if managed network operators are inflexible by dealing with multiple network operators to develop a tailored, multi-network solution to help each use case.
Employing a junction of different networks can be highly powerful as an entire solution to connect all parts of a customer’s estate, but, in some cases, it may need a service provider capable of producing multiple SIM-based technologies to get the right networks in the asset location. This also provides smooth provisioning and management while allowing changes via automation to offer a good and enhanced customer experience.
5G and SIM-Based IoT
The entrance of 5G will change the landscape for SIM-based IoT. It will influence capacity, permitting 100,000s connections per square kilometer. It will also offer speed and reliability and will allow the market to offer real service-level agreements. This market is growing at a fast pace. There is huge scope and energy in the SIM-based IoT area, which will change the contour of the entire market.