iSIM and eSIM for Transport & Logistics

Charlie Harrisson -
iSIM and eSIM for Transport & Logistics
Illustration: © IoT For All

The transport and logistics industry is witnessing growth in IoT solutions as more devices are connected and linked to the cloud. Digitalization through smart sensors enables organizations to track assets, optimize traffic routes, and increase efficiency in logistical operations on a global scale.

Cellular IoT devices provide real-time visibility across the supply chain, allowing for constant product status monitoring and proactive decision-making, improving supply chain operations. The data generated from connected devices holds immense potential that is only now starting to be recognized.

IoT Security as Standard

Embedded SIM (eSIM)  and Integrated SIM (iSIM) are perfectly suited to transport and logistics applications that benefit from secure cellular connectivity. Both technologies enable trusted firmware and software updates over the air to ensure the integrity of the device. This ensures that supply chain data is trustworthy and reliable to help improve distribution, inventory stock-taking, and accurate forecasting.

Smart & Secure Connectivity

M2M modules installed on vehicles or goods such as containers can securely transmit vital data through embedded SIM (eSIM) or integrated SIM (iSIM) to a web-based software platform, improving logistics. By strategically placing discrete trackers within crates, containers, and pallets, goods can be efficiently tracked cost-effectively.

The secure data exchange of interconnected devices is evolving rapidly with connected tracking sensors ensuring high visibility of supply chain operations globally. eSIM can store multiple network operator profiles which are remotely provisioned, can switch carriers, and receive firmware updates over the air (OTA).

eSIM Advocacy

The transport and logistics industry has been a keen advocate of eSIM; 45 percent of transport and logistics respondents with a current cellular IoT deployment reported they use eSIM as quoted in the Enterprise Cellular IoT Survey 2023 from Kaleido Intelligence.

The main reason for adopting eSIM is to avoid operator lock-in, with 69 percent of users reporting this as the reason for their usage. A reduction in SKU count is close behind at 66 percent.

eSIM enables a rich set of IoT capabilities and is fast becoming the form factor of choice for module makers looking to instill a root of trust in asset-tracking devices with robust, scalable chip-to-cloud security. Its compact size and ability to operate in low-power devices can be deployed in large quantities worldwide.

Localized Data

Cellular IoT devices with eSIM can be used everywhere, managed via remote SIM provisioning (RSP) which can change profile remotely if an asset moves to another region on a different network.

Connected devices can establish a connection with a domestic network instead of relying on roaming services with the associated higher charges. Even a modest monthly saving over the device’s lifespan can more than make up for the upfront and occasional costs incurred from IMSI switching.

Cold Chain Logistics

There are certain goods where it’s critical that certain storage conditions are maintained. This is possible through networks comprising small sensors that can be easily deployed at any required scale to monitor and regulate factors such as temperature, air quality, humidity, lighting, and pressure.

IoT tracking devices ensure their quality is maintained and benefit perishable items, sensitive medicines, and high-value goods that require specific temperature conditions during shipment. eSIM and iSIM-powered devices help provide clear, trustworthy analytics to accurately track data across the cold chain logistics process.

Transforming Operations

IoT-enabled asset tracking has been boosted thanks to the progress of mobile network technologies such as 5G with LTE, IoT RSP, and Non-terrestrial Networks (NTN).

Some standards helping to propel eSIM to the forefront:

  • The incorporation of NB-IoT and CAT-1 Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) in the latest 3GPP standards for 5G technologies ensures tracking devices can remain operational for extended periods, spanning multiple years, without requiring a battery replacement.

  • New development in IoT RSP eSIM SGP.32 enables configuration at various stages such as eUICC manufacturing, IoT device manufacturing, or in the field for seamless modification of eSIMs.

  • Non-terrestrial networks became part of the 3GPP standard in Release 17, establishing a solid foundation for direct communication between NTN satellites and cellular IoT devices to ensure reliable connectivity.

Non-stop Coverage

The ongoing progress of mobile network technologies such as 5G with LTE and LPWAN technologies and the 3GPP Non-terrestrial Network (NTN) means OEMs can expand device coverage. Satellite communication enables continuous connectivity in remote areas where cellular and LPWA networks may experience instability.

Charlie Harrisson - Senior Marketing Manager, Kigen UK Ltd

Kigen is the global security leader for Integrated SIM (iSIM) and eSIM technology solutions and services or connected devices. Connect with #futureofSIM conversation on LinkedIn and via Kigen_Ltd on Twitter.
Kigen is the global security leader for Integrated SIM (iSIM) and eSIM technology solutions and services or connected devices. Connect with #futureofSIM conversation on LinkedIn and via Kigen_Ltd on Twitter.