Connecting machines is a huge opportunity for telcos.
But this is a very different market from connecting people and smartphones.
In developed markets, mobile penetration has passed 100 percent. In developing markets, it’s not far off.
Where is the growth for MNOs?
Telcos and the IoT
The answer is obvious: the Internet of Things.
Telcos are now racing to connect billions of machines. But they will need new skills to master this unfamiliar device landscape.
Machines vary in design and purpose more than smartphones:
- A connected car, for example, might send large quantities of critical data several times a day.
- An air quality meter might send a few kilobytes once a week.
For enterprise users, the first priority is to choose the appropriate IoT modules for their devices.
Selecting the right IoT modules
This makes sense when you think about it.
Selecting the right tech will speed up time to market and ultimately improve ROI.
Thales offers various Cinterion IoT modules, terminals, and modem cards to suit every IoT scenario.
They support a variety of network types (from Bluetooth to LoRa to 5G) and are engineered for extreme durability or longevity.
When an IoT connects to the mobile network, it requires a SIM.
Some IoT devices are located in hard-to-reach places or are exposed to heat and vibration. Then there’s the size: IoT objects can be tiny.
These factors make the manually-inserted SIM unfit for purpose. Thales’ eSIM product can address the above issues. It is soldered into place and measures 2.5mm by 2.3mm – a 60x smaller footprint than the nano-SIM.
As of early 2020, over 200 mobile network operators had launched or were planning to launch eSIM services.
While eSIMs are working well inside current IoT devices, a successor is on the way.
Integrated SIM (iSIM) technology puts the iUICC functionality directly into the chipset.
Clearly, this reduces the cost of distribution and power consumption even more.
Thales is currently developing iSIM technology for Qualcomm chipsets.
Of course, embedding the eSIM in millions of devices is just the start of a longer process.
Enterprises and their MNO partners need to manage their IoT fleets over time. These devices are often unattended and can be in the field for 10 to 15 years.
So IoT device lifecycle management is essential.
Thales eSIM Management Platform can automatically download any MNO profile at the first use of a device – and update it at any point later.
The platform can also monitor device behaviour to detect anomalies in real-time.
This process is particularly crucial for mobile IoT applications such as vehicle fleets.