According to research, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is expected to reach over 29 billion worldwide in 2030.
This is not surprising since IoT has numerous applications in various sectors and industries, including residential, manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare.
IoT pertains to a network of Wi-Fi-enabled devices that connect to the Internet. Its goal is to create a smart workplace, home or city filled with internet-connected gadgets and appliances users can control remotely using a phone, tablet or computer.
IoT also integrates data from different devices and applies analytics to share valuable information with applications to address the user’s particular needs.
Many IoT or smart devices use eSIMs for sharing information, over-the-air provisioning, and switching carriers or mobile network operators or MNOs.
Leading eSIM providers say their technology is opening doors to opportunities for innovation and more benefits to IoT manufacturers and suppliers and mobile network operators that it makes sense to lean towards this option over regular SIM cards.
Below are the specific benefits of using eSIMs in IoT devices:
IoT devices designed to be moved from one place to another can suffer from connection reliability issues. Even the largest MNOs with the widest coverage areas may not work or have a strong signal in certain deployment locations.
SIM cards can also break, get damaged or fail during the swapping process.
With eSIMS, IoT devices can have numerous profiles. Users can choose from among different carriers and pick one that offers the strongest connection or answers their requirements without buying another SIM card.
Users can swap carriers quickly and easily over-the-air as well.
Additionally, an over-the-air SIM swapping method is safer since there is no need to remove and insert a SIM card physically.
Since eSIM is built into the device, it is protected by its covering, ensuring its functionality and longevity. It will also be able to withstand extreme conditions, guaranteeing its long length of service.
IoT devices with eSIMs are also protected from the effects of evolving network technologies and service terminations since they can eliminate technical or carrier lock-ins.
This advantage comes from the eSIM’s Global System for Mobile Communications Association’s (GSMA) standard subscription management for embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC).
These eUICC capabilities enable the user to download multiple profiles and switch anytime, even if they have been using the device for years.
The cost-efficiency benefits of eSIMs extend to both IoT device manufacturers and users.
Smart device manufacturers can reduce their expenses since there is no need to include the cost of hardware, such as the SIM tray and circuits, in the production process.
Smart device users, whether individuals or organisations, eliminate the need to buy new SIM cards when they want to switch carriers. Whether they want to change MNOs to experience better signal strength or save money on mobile tariffs, they can do this without incurring too many expenses.
Moreover, the use of eSIMs can reduce manufacturing errors since there is no need to insert a SIM card into the device during the production process or when users activate the device.
The absence of these steps can reduce production costs and eliminate device failure due to mechanical and human errors.
Device authentication and secure provisioning are vital elements of any IoT project.
Each IoT device is issued a unique set of credentials and provisioned individually during the manufacturing process. These steps add to the overall production cost and lead time.
Also, each set of credentials must be safely stored to prevent external or unwanted access. This entails adding secure storage capability to the device, which means a corresponding increase in the material and production expenses.
Many IoT device manufacturers are researching how eSIM capabilities can reduce these burdens and expenses while improving IoT security simultaneously.
If a smart device uses an eSIM as an authentication token, manufacturers can do away with provisioning the initial credentials since the eSIM can authenticate the device once the user activates or turns it on.
There is a possibility to uniquely authenticate a device without having an authentication backend if the eSIM provider or carrier offers it as part of their service as well.
Additionally, smart devices with eSIMs won’t require secure storage for authentication credentials because these chips are tamper-tolerant.
End-users can also experience security benefits since the eSIM is embedded in the device. As such, it is nearly impossible to tamper with or remove the chip.
Machine-to-machine or M2M eSIMS are the most recommended options for bigger IoT projects.
M2M eSIMs provide the above benefits, making them the ideal option for commercial and industrial IoT applications, including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, agriculture, real estate and transportation. Moreover, the chips come in different forms, making them suitable for various types of smart devices.
Because of these reasons, M2M SIMs are the perfect match for numerous industrial and commercial IoT applications.
With eSIMs, IoT devices can stay connected for years, regardless of their use, where they are deployed and the changes that occur in the market.