With the continued explosive growth of the IoT devices market, there is a huge opportunity for device manufacturers to encourage quicker adoption of IoT and help bring down the traditional barriers to larger IoT projects. In our discussions with enterprises the world over, we’ve heard again and again that the perceived complexity of IoT can be a concern for potential innovators.
Manufacturers can eliminate much of this complexity by providing devices with embedded connectivity that ‘just works’.
Whether you manufacture smart logistics devices (sensors, trackers, pallets etc) or any product with an eSIM chip as a tracking and connectivity technology, the following elements need to be addressed.
Elements required for embedded connectivity
1. Take an eSIM
An embedded SIM, also known as MFF2, is ideal for surface-mount implementations, provides space savings and increased physical security and resilience. Also available as either UICC or eUICC, this form-factor is the right choice when space is at a premium and ruggedness is essential. Unlike removable SIM cards, the eSIM is embedded during the manufacturing process – soldered into a sealed enclosure. It is extremely difficult to tamper with or remove an eSIM without causing significant damage to a device. An eSIM is also water resistant, an essential feature for any ruggedized IoT applications and especially so for the logistics industry. As an example, an end user may need a pallet shipped worldwide in incredible adverse conditions, resulting in the device being inaccessible for weeks at a time.
2. Add a bootstrap profile
Every eSIM is configured with a bootstrap profile. The bootstrap profile guarantees that the device can obtain connectivity, regardless of its geographic location, and be used to download local network profiles when a device is first turned on. It may also be used as a fall-back profile if there are network issues in the location where the device has been deployed. This is particularly useful for smart tracking devices that will require automatic initial connectivity as they cross geographical regions.
3. Link a management platform
A software platform that manages eSIMs is key to scaling IoT logistics deployments. The simplicity and automation provided by a connectivity management platform make it possible to enroll, deploy, maintain and track thousands of devices remotely. This is critical for logistics solutions, as the sheer number of devices which are deployed globally continues to scale exponentially.
4. Choose a network
The ability to change network operator without physical interaction is a major benefit of eSIM. A global network of MNOs is an important part of the eSIM ecosystem because no one operator provides the coverage to support a global supply chain. A manufacturer of smart logistics devices can provide the device with the bootstrap profile and let their customers choose the network that best supports their needs post-deployment, or remotely change operator as the needs of the deployment changes.
Getting started with eSIM can seem complicated, but in reality the process is pretty simple and the benefits from point of deployment forward are significant and well worth the additional effort at the manufacturing stage. For manufacturers eSIM just makes sense. Not only does it actually allow them to simplify their process, being able to build one device for the world, but it also provides real added value to the end user. You get streamlining and simplicity and the end user gets flexibility, resilience and a future proof product.
Alternatively, if you are looking to do more than just manufacture, eSIM is the gateway to evolving your products into an as-a-service model. Provide one product for the world, with connectivity almost anywhere, and get extra intelligence about how your products are being used. Add an eSIM, pick a connectivity provider (which you can change later if needed) and start delivering your connected products-as-a-service for customers who want to just power on and go.
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