Connected IoT devices and smart solutions are quickly expanding into every industry and aspects of our lives, and the numbers back this up. By 2025, it has been predicted that 75 billion IoT devices will be connected with a potential market value of around $1.6 trillion. With the ability to leverage real-time data and analytics from connected devices, enterprises can gain powerful insights to help boost efficiency and productivity.
However, the benefits that these devices can provide are dependent upon strong and reliable connectivity. Ensuring that IoT devices remain connected around the clock can be a challenge for many service providers. The complexity can be due to different Mobile Network Operator (MNO) specific product variants, complicated installation logistics or ensuring resilience and keeping the promises set in service level agreements (SLAs).
However, with the power of eSIM technology and some additional “magic” ingredients from Thales, service providers can ensure that their connected devices, such as smart meters or other fixed IoT installations like security cameras, receive consistent connectivity regardless of the challenges thrown their way.
But, before we go into detail how eSIMs can solve IoT connectivity activation challenges, we must understand which barriers stand in the way of seamless connectivity. Here’s just a few that many service providers face:
Different devices for different MNO networks
In the context of a diverse, global market, many service providers use different product variants of their connected devices which are tailored to support specific MNO networks in their destination countries. The downside to this wide spectrum of similar products is that manufacturing and managing the logistics for multiple product variants (or “SKUs”) poses a set of cost-heavy, time-intensive tasks.
Maintaining connectivity over a device’s lifecycle
Once an IoT device is installed, it must be maintained across its lifetime. However, while IoT devices can remain in the field for 10 to 15 years, contracts with MNOs only usually last 5-6 years. Consequently, the expiration of one of these contracts has the potential to disrupt the connectivity between these devices and their networks. As a result, maintaining IoT connectivity and SLAs over the long haul currently requires device or SIM card updates which can be both costly and time-consuming.
Complex and lengthy installation
Traditionally, before installing devices at deployment sites, technicians needed to test connectivity to discover which MNO network would be optimally suited to that site. This would then inform the technician of which MNO-specific device should be installed. To compound this already lengthy task, each installation technician would have to carry a whole range of MNO-specific devices so that they could install the correct device for the optimal network, further complicating the installation process.
So, how can service providers streamline IoT connectivity activation?
Through the power of eSIM technology, combined with the capabilities of an IoT module, a secure digital ID device and a device lifecycle management solution, service providers have the opportunity to simplify IoT device activation while saving the cost and time associated with developing and manufacturing different products for different MNOs. Here are three core ways an all-encompassing solution can help service providers when it comes to IoT connectivity activation:
- Simplified manufacturing processes and logistics: Thanks to eSIMs, any device installed by a service provider can connect to any MNO network, regardless of the product type. For service providers, this removes the need to manufacture multiple product variants to support different MNO networks.
- Remote maintenance: Instead of regularly sending out technicians to update both devices and SIM cards at the expiration of MNO contracts, eSIM technology gives service providers the ability to update their devices remotely. Using a web portal, technicians can update a device’s network provider from the comfort of their office, saving costs and time from unnecessary maintenance trips.
- Streamlined installation: Devices with embedded SIMs can automatically select the optimal MNO network for any given deployment site. As a result, technicians no-longer need to spend hours travelling to sites and testing devices for their connectivity requirements.
The IoT industry is still constantly evolving. With new connections being made every day, we are still progressing to a smarter world. However, maintaining strong and reliable connectivity will be critical if we are to reap the benefits of IoT. With the help of eSIM technology, we can simplify the activation and management of IoT devices for many across the business landscape.
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