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Connectivity Continuity Without Borders

6 minute read

GSMA Intelligence forecasts that IoT connections will reach almost 25 billion globally by 2025, up from 10.3 billion in 2018. IoT is growing for multiple reasons and a big element fueling that growth is that technology is finally being purpose fit for IoT. eSIM represents another key part of this evolution helping drive innovation in a wide range of markets – from smart energy management, industrial IoT, and connected health to name a few. In fact, smart manufacturing is one of the fastest growing markets due to production automation, streamlining of operations, and now with eSIM manufacturers can design resilience into their products with out-of-the-box global connectivity.

In 3Q19, Omdia conducted a 15-country survey of 1,746 enterprises deploying or in the process of rolling out IoT solutions. The objective was to examine IoT deployment trends, drivers and challenges, use cases, investment, and technology and supplier choices. One question asked concerned what drives the choice of an IoT solution — the first being security and the second being coverage. With eSIM, organizations can help address both issues:

Coverage

For IoT deployments that require cross-border mobility, enabling flexible SIM activation is critical. With eSIM, organizations can achieve global deployments that support:

  • A single SIM for streamlined ​vendor ecosystem and ​global connectivity
  • The ability to host multiple carrier profiles for sophisticated fallback
  • Over-the-air (OTA) provisioning to enable global deployments with local network access

Security

Many IoT devices are in remote locations, making physical security impossible or extremely costly. With eSIM, organizations can have embedded connectivity that helps:

  • A device become tamper resistant, waterproofed, or ruggedized for tough environments
  • Remote provisioning services administered OTA, creating significant barriers to “SIM swapping” attacks

On our recent global eSIM webinar, which is now available on-demand, we held a digital assessment poll looking at the readiness of our audience and the drive for eSIM technologies. It was interesting to see that 38% are open to expanding their IoT coverage but haven’t defined additional locations yet and 56% plan to deploy to other regions in the next 12 months.

This is where eSIM can truly make an impact. Today’s IoT solutions require global connectivity and seamless network transitions. But managing SIM card inventory and provisioning processes for multiple carriers to deploy IoT solutions in various regions across the globe is not only frustrating but cost prohibitive.

IoT Security by Design

Security should always be forefront of your mind when deploying solutions and IoT is no exception. There are many references on how to secure your devices which all recommend the best approach for mitigating vulnerabilities within your IoT environment.

While some of the security challenges may seem reasonably straightforward at first glance, there are many nuances to be aware of — from software, to hardware, to network protections. Most devices are susceptible to a first line of attack, but there are solutions to prevent this exposure. For example, ensuring default usernames and passwords are removed (many regions are now placing this into law, such as in the U.S. state of California) and disabling port 22 if not required (listens for any SSH connection requests – another major vulnerability within the IoT world).

When it comes to securing your IoT devices, several cybersecurity organizations have begun providing more guidance. In the U.K. for example, the National Cyber Security Centre have produced “Secure by Design” principles. Although not a legal requirement, it encourages best security practice in system creation. Similarly, The National Institute of Standards and Technology has recently released 2 publications not only looking at the device but also the interactions it performs, in addition to a practice guide developed in collaboration with KORE.

Organizations have traditionally relied on cellular connectivity delivered via SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards for their IoT deployments. These SIM cards contain unique information that identifies the IoT device to a specific carrier to facilitate connectivity and data transfer. However, legacy SIM cards can only support one carrier profile at a time, locking businesses into a single carrier network and technology. This makes it highly inefficient and expensive to change carriers, upgrade to new cellular technologies, or manage complex global deployments.

At the end of the day, eSIM isn’t going to be the answer for everyone and every situation. What it does offer is a standard that provides interoperability between different RSP solutions/eUICC products and ensures Secure Remote SIM Profile Management. This negates the need to manage or swap multiple SIM cards, which is particularly beneficial where devices are not managed by an end user or easily accessible.


If you are interested in finding out more on the role of eSIM in improving global connectivity, view our on-demand webinar. We look at the growth of eSIM and debunking eSIM myths, the four key considerations to global IoT deployment, and how to scale security with eSIM.

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