You probably know what a SIM card is because of your smartphone. It’s the tiny chip device that contains your network provider and data plan. Traditional SIM cards have quite a few limitations, however. For example, if you want to switch network providers, you’ll have to remove the SIM card and replace it.
In today’s modern landscape, small IoT devices are on the rise. Smartwatches and other tinier devices will make use of new SIM cards, called eSIM. As the successor to SIM cards, they provide lots of new capabilities. In particular, eSIM for IoT shows massive amounts of potential. Let’s take a look at what eSIM technology is and how it’s paving the way for new IoT devices.
What is eSIM Technology?
Lots of people are using the term ‘eSIM card,’ which is incorrect. To understand why, let’s break down what SIM is in the first place.
- SIM is short for Subscriber Identification Module. This refers to the integrated circuit or IC that stores the IMSI number. That stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity. This number is what contains all your personal information for your device.
- eSIM differs in that the IC doesn’t have to be in a physical card form. Instead, the eSIM is the actual integrated circuit itself. It’s embedded in the device’s body, hence the term ‘eSIM’ or ’embedded SIM.’
With eSIM technology, you can switch network providers and data plans without having to switch out cards. As a result, you can seamlessly change providers for thousands of devices at once. That’s massive news for companies, as now they won’t have to wait for physical SIM cards to arrive. That’s not all that eSIM can do, though. One significant difference from traditional SIM cards is something called RSP, or remote SIM provisioning.
What is Remote SIM Provisioning?
With remote SIM provisioning, you can connect to any mobile network of your choosing. What does that mean? Well, picture this. You’re out in the elements with your IoT smartwatch that has eSIM activated. You search for your traditional mobile network to connect to, which is Verizon.
The only problem is that there are no Verizon networks available in the area. What you can find, however, is a Sprint network nearby that’s four bars strong.
Using remote SIM provisioning, you can switch providers on the fly and connect to the Sprint network. That means you’ll be able to connect to any network you can find without having to change SIM cards. That can be invaluable if you’re in an area with sparse coverage. You’ll be able to connect to any network that you can find, regardless of your provider.
eSIM for IoT Deployments
There are a few essential benefits that eSIM poses for IoT devices. These include:
- Device Quantity. Let’s say that you have a company with billions of IoT devices that need to switch network providers. With eSIM technology, you can do so with ease. All you have to do is use remote SIM provisioning to switch providers on the fly. That’s a lot better than having to switch out the SIM cards in billions of devices physically!
- Global Coverage Capabilities. When you combine eSIM technology with cellular networks for IoT devices, global coverage starts to open up. Picture for a moment that you have an autonomous vehicle that you’re driving between countries. When you arrive in the new country, you can use RSP to switch to the country’s provider. That way, you avoid expensive fees for international roaming. If you have an international IoT deployment, you’ll want to make sure to use eSIM tech in your devices. That will enable you to switch providers on the fly if your connection starts to weaken.
- Superior Durability. Finally, eSIM for IoT makes sense because of its durability. Since it’s embedded in the device, it has a lot more protection than a traditional SIM card. While standard SIM cards can’t withstand harsh conditions or temperatures, eSIM can deal with them efficiently. That’s excellent news for IoT since many IoT devices get deployed in remote areas with harsh weather. Lots of sensors and GPS devices require quite a bit of durability to function correctly. eSIM technology makes that possible.
There you have the power of eSIM for IoT applications. eSIM has many advantages over traditional SIM cards, and we’re bound to see the technology take over entirely in the coming years.
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