The Far Reaching Potential of eSIM Technology & IoT

Yaniv Elron -
eSIM technology
Illustration: © IoT For All

There can be a downside to being called “The Next Big Thing.” A technological step forward may be amplified in the excitement, but can leave many deflated when high expectations turn out to be premature. Meanwhile, the very real development that was introduced gets overlooked, stalling the inevitable adoption that will one day come with reasonable technology evolution. Despite the vast potential of The Internet of Things (IoT), applications did not live up to unrealistic immediate dreams. As appeal waned, so did adoption. But, if you follow the money, IoT has continually been moving ahead. IoT analytics projects global IoT spending to grow 26.7 percent annually. One technology, eSIM, which has been subject to the same cycle, may be the key to reaching IoT’s potential.

What Is eSIM Technology?

The eSIM is a SIM card with embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC) software. It is flexible and can be used in any form factor, such as:

  • Micro
  • Mini
  • Nano
  • Embedded

eSIM enables remote provisioning of multiple network profiles. This way, consumers can change wireless carriers using an app or quick response code, which means there is no need to wait for a new card to be delivered or for a visit to the store.

It was thought that the same approach could be used for enterprise devices. Unfortunately, eSIMs and profile provisioning can be difficult for IT departments to manage. End-users must give consent for carrier profile installs, and they must manually make changes between subscriptions.

This won’t work for enterprise volumes of devices, never mind handling the millions of endpoints for machine-to-machine (M2M) use in everything from autonomous vehicles to smart factories.

Two eSim Standards

There are two distinct eSIM technology standards:

  1. Consumer use: Consumer wireless devices.
  2. M2M use: Used as sensors for purposes that range from controlling factory machinery performance to overseeing energy distribution at utilities.

Still, many believed there was just one eSIM standard to rule over IoT – the one for consumers. They expected the same capabilities for enterprise and M2M applications. But when they learned they couldn’t immediately update millions of vehicles across the world, many IoT projects were moved to the back burner.

This is particularly true of M2M eSIM implementation, which requires a significant up-front investment to enable network components to deal with profiles and provisioning. Also, the M2M eSIM standard only allows you to migrate to another carrier. An incumbent carrier does not want to make it easy for customers to leave, so there are substantial costs to connect, and migrations are notoriously slow.

All this leads to the biggest misconception of all, which is the belief that enterprises need to tolerate carrier foot-dragging or slow their IoT plans. In fact, there is a third option, and it’s overcoming such challenges to unlock the full potential of IoT.

New eSIM, New Game

Solutions for eSIM technology are now using new eSIMs featuring management capabilities that can be remotely programmed for a wireless carrier’s profile, either in removable or embedded forms. These can be installed in the device manufacturing process or via a personalization center.

This allows enterprises to order eSIM subscriptions in bulk from a wireless carrier. They can then upload the activation codes into a portal to centrally and remotely provision multiple profiles. The eSIM talks to the carrier’s platform and the devices can be swiftly connected.

The entire process takes minutes, and this dramatically changes the game in favor of the enterprise.

A company can change its connectivity quickly and efficiently. This makes connectivity not just simple, but it allows enterprises to do this at scale, all while managing deployments through one portal. This provides greater cost efficiency and is a device-agnostic approach, so enterprises aren’t held back by vendor limitations and can enjoy future flexibility.

Connecting to the Future

That said, IoT and eSIMs have been the subject of many appeals over the years. But like many promising technologies, it was only a matter of time before their true potential could be appreciated. Now, with the development of new eSIM technology, IoT has been brought into greater focus, and the future is bright.

Author
Yaniv Elron - Co-founder & EVP Sales and Marketing, Webbing

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Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...