The Next Generation SIM and How It Works

Internet of Things providers who offer a ‘thing’ and a paired thing service will often deploy their globally delivered or traveling smart devices with a standard or “roaming-only” global SIM capability. With a roaming-only global SIM, data must originate and terminate from the network of the “home” mobile network operator. This is the mobile network operator whose network credentials are currently being used to connect to the foreign mobile network. As a result, data that is generated by a connected device can be routed across very long distances before it is consumed for use. This can result in poor user experience and high cost.

With the next generation SIM capability, the credentials of a mobile network operator in the country or region can be dynamically downloaded to the smart device allowing for data access in the local area providing for a lower latency and therefore improved user experience.

This iBASIS whitepaper on this topic will look at the characteristics of the Traditional, Standard SIM and of the Next Generation SIM and explain how they are different and the resulting benefits of the next generation of SIM technology.

Download the whitepaper here!

Enterprise Mobility: A New Age is Coming – Part I

Enterprise Mobility Today

Is texting via SMS becoming a thing of the past?

It seems that calling with our phones or messaging using SMS/MMS on our smartphones is becoming more and more of a rarity. Probably because in today’s world, we have access to a number of alternative mobile devices and applications that allow us to communicate with colleagues, family, and friends. These include devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops/2-In-1s and applications like WhatsApp, Viber, iMessage, or Jabber.

In order to use many of these devices and applications, staying connected is critical. At home or at work, WiFi is usually how we stay connected, while we rely on cellular connectivity whenever we travel outside these locations. However, in recent years, mobile WiFi (MiFi) dongles and stand-alone multi-device connectivity MiFi Hotspots have become available for connecting laptops, tablets and other devices to the mobile data network. We’ve also seen a rise in advances such as MiFi Hotspots built right into the latest 4G smartphones, laptops with SIM slots built in, and 4G enabled tablets.

Shifts to new Devices

Not surprisingly, with these advances, more and more “connected” devices are beginning to hit the market. These devices are making use of newly offered embedded cellular modules and embedded SIM (eSIM) technology to offer advanced mobile connectivity features while using less real estate on the device. As a result, we are seeing an increase in not just smartphones and tablets, but also in connected wearables hitting the market. Even more important is the fact that with eSIM technology, these wearables can access mobile data directly without having to be tethered to your smartphone!
According to P&S Market Research, the smartwatch market is expected to reach $43.8 billion by 2023, with the standalone (untethered) category projected to experience the highest growth during the forecast period. Smartwatches like the Samsung Gear S2, Huawei Watch 2 and the Apple Watch Series 3 are among the new connected smartwatches on the market that utilize eSIM technology for 4G/3G mobile data connectivity.
Similarly, some of the latest 2-In-1s, like the ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA and the Microsoft Surface Pro 2-in-1 with LTE Advanced, provide “anywhere” connectivity by including 4G/3G access with eSIM technology built-in. According to Microsoft, the Surface Pro 2-in-1 delivers 4G LTE connectivity around the world with support of 20 LTE bands.

Other shifts toward new devices include more niche wearable technology like smart glasses. Although they remain tethered for safety reasons, smart glasses like the Vuzix Blade and Intel Vaunt are seeing greater and greater use in the Enterprise environment in Augmented Reality (AR) applications.

Shifts to new Technologies

In addition to new devices, new technologies are emerging to enhance the usability of these devices. Going back to AR devices, one important example of shifts in technology is the gesture-based AR controls by companies like ManoMotion, Crunchfish and uSens. “We firmly believe that virtual reality and AR is the next form of the computer, the next generation of smart devices,” Dr. Yue Fei, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Bay Area human-computer interaction specialist uSens, told Digital Trends.

Although voice assistants are not entirely new, assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are getting more and more skills and are being continuously improved with artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

Even the default technology for voice calling and messaging applications are getting a facelift on Android smartphones. Android and Samsung Messages are planned to be in wide use by the summer of 2019 and is based on a standards based open voice and messaging service developed specifically for the mobile device industry.

Enterprise Mobility vs. Consumer Mobility

So what does this mean for the enterprise versus consumer markets?

Mobility devices and functionality for the Enterprise and Consumer markets do overlap to some degree based on the size of the organization and the communication applications they use. For example, very small businesses can have much in common with the consumer market if they do not specifically seek out a specialized Enterprise Mobility Provider (ranging from AT&T to Wavelink). However for larger enterprises, there are some distinct differences: specific business applications, team collaboration applications and web conferencing applications. Larger enterprises often require higher performance devices which support global connectivity (e.g. tablets, 2-in-1s and smartphones) much more than your typical consumer. Because of this, newer, higher-priced technologies are often introduced to enterprises first, before making their way to the Consumer market. As new technologies emerge, we will therefore see more enterprise specific devices that accelerate business productivity and intelligence (e.g. enterprise specific wearables and AI functions). Of course, when it comes to the commercial side of things, enterprises obviously want a single contract, a single bill, pooled data across their devices and a single provider for their global mobile service needs, regardless of their size.

We at iBasis envision employees of the next generation enterprise will perform business tasks using these emerging devices and technologies. iBasis Global Access for Things is helping a number of companies enable the next generation of enterprise mobility with a single source for mobile data access, globally. Stay tuned for part II of this series to see how we envision this future. Come join us for the journey!

Our Top 4 Key Takeaways from the IoT Tech Expo

iBasis Key Takeaways from the IoT Tech Expo

Last week, the iBasis Global Access for Things team spent time in Silicon Valley gaining further insight about the future of connectivity at the IoT Tech Expo North America. The conference, which hosted over 9,000 attendees across 15 tracks of learning including blockchain and AI, and featured over 300 industry leading speakers, took a deep-dive into the future of IoT and the opportunities business leaders can expect in a global field.

 

IoT is Here to Stay (and Continues to Grow)

Even just a few short years ago, the term IoT may have caused confused looks during non-industry conversations. Today, the field has started to gain significant traction in the enterprise and consumer markets, and IoT is a household name.

And with over 9,000 people in attendance at the expo, that wasnt hard to believe.

IoT isnt just a buzzword, its profitable too. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion in 2017. As more companies began to invest in more interconnected devices – and device manufacturers continue to innovate their devices capabilities – the IoT market is going to continue booming.

 

Adoption and Investment

The expo hosted over 300 exhibitors in house showing their latest tech, ranging from personal consumer items to business-ready enterprise options. Even experts from NASA were on the scene, explaining how IoT technologies, while paired with AI, will help track natural disasters across the globe. Industry leaders like Oracle and IBM were paired next to niche boutique organizations, giving attendees the chance to get an organic feeling for the opportunities IoT presents – and they are extensive.

 

Its Creating Innovation

10 years ago, the idea of a smart home was science fiction – today its becoming a commonplace reality. These advances come from the hard work of smart leaders innovating in a new field. Creating products and software for an emerging focus isnt the easiest feat, and the expo even had an entire track dedicated for it called Developing for the IoT.

If theres one major takeaway to be had from the IoT Tech Expo, its that the face of technology – and of interconnect-ability – is going to continue to evolve thanks to the endless innovation from hundreds of companies across the globe. Its only a matter of time until sci-fi tech become household objects.

 

Our Own Leaders Are Leaders in the Field

IoT experts spoke on subjects ranging from Bluetooth to making IoT energy efficient – and everything in between. Attendees were able to glimpse into all facets of IoT research and development, and come away with a better understanding of how the market is shifting the face of modern technology.

iBasis’ very own CTO, Ajay Joseph, was one of the expert speakers at the event. Ajay shared his expertise on the pain points of IoT service providers in his session The Solution for Global Mobile Access for Things: A Dramatic Simplification in Global Logistics, which described how next generation mobile technology allows for simplified and future proof global connectivity of IoT devices.

To learn more about Ajay’s presentation, please feel free to reach out to the team. And to learn more about iBasis Global Access for Things offerings in the IoT market, please visit the website here.

eSIM Standardization Efforts

The GSMA Association and the eSIM
The GSM Association is a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide. Approximately 800 mobile operators are full GSMA members and a further 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem are associate members.  Starting 2014, GSMA had begun to work on an ecosystem related to embedded SIM (eSIM), or eUICC, to address mobile networks and market needs for connecting non-consumer, also referred to as M2M, devices to mobile networks for all sort of B2B applications, such as meter reading, connected cars, intelligent remote controlling, among others.

The Remote SIM Provisioning Initiative
It first came up with the Remote SIM Provisioning initiative and formed several working groups. The working groups focused on standardizing a suite of specifications to ensure the whole ecosystem, including eSIM vendors, device manufactures, mobile operators, and other related service providers, follow the same standards and unified framework for all related processes. This has helped the mobile industry to address more than 10 billion devices connecting to mobile networks by 2020, as predicted. By February 2016, the complete version of specifications were released. Since December 2015, it also has begun to work on similar specifications targeting consumer devices.

The Three Major Working Groups
There are three major working groups working the specifications. One group is called the RSP Task Force (RSPTF), consisting of major mobile operators and works on specifications served as requirements for both M2M and consumer devices. The RSPTF group has more than twenty major mobile operators actively contributing to the requirements. The specifications produced from RSPTF are SGP.01 and SGP.21.

Another group, called the RSP Technical (RSPTEC), is working on implementation specification based on the requirement specifications from RSPTF. RSPTEC is composed of eSIM vendors, OEMs, and all related service providers. iBasis is an active member of this group.

Finally, the third main group, called “RSP Certification and Compliance” (RSPCERT), is working on Security Accreditation Scheme, Test, and Profile Protection specifications.

For those of interested in the detail of all the specifications, the full array of documents can be found on the GSMA Public Website.

Solving the Challenges of IoT Service Providers

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a technological and business revolution. We are still in the early adoption and adaptation stages of this revolution while standards and methodologies continue to evolve. Only a small percentage of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and even fewer businesses have achieved the progress and successes planned in this new business revolution.

Many strides in technology, including the specialization and reduction in size and cost of wireless and sensor technologies, have allowed manufacturers to make ordinary “things” smart connected devices. The promise of the Internet of Things is also to provide companies the opportunity to undergo a digital transformation from equipment/device manufacturers to service providers (IoT SPs) – providing a thing + a thing service.

As we have discussed in a recent post, one of the strides in technology is the reduction in size and standardization of the mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) – to the embedded SIM or eSIM. Just this week we have seen the launch of the Apple Watch Series 3 with embedded programmable SIM technology allowing for fully untethered operation following earlier mobile connected and untethered watch models from Samsung and LG.

 

 

For smart connected devices that require connectivity in global locations, the eSIM solves many challenges for IoT Service Providers:

• The logistics behind shipping, testing and activating millions of SIMs around the world requires significant orchestration and resources. With standard SIM technology, an IoTSP needs to order and stock SIMs from multiple MNO partners around the globe. When shipping their connected devices to customers, the IoTSP must be cognizant of the delivery destination and insert into the device the correct SIM card for the desired regional mobile operator. With eSIM technology, the SIM is a single programmable SIM that can be incorporated as an integrated circuit chip on a device circuit board or can be a commercial pluggable (e.g. 3FF or 4FF) or ruggedized (e.g. MFF1 or MFF2). With the eSIM, the IoTSP can insert the same eSIM card in every device delivered and program the card, or embedded chip in the device, to the correct regional mobile operator when the device is turned on in the delivered country.

• Negotiating with mobile operators across the world for IoT rates and coverage is typically not a core competence of IoT Service Providers. IoTSPs would rather be creating new, innovative, smart, connected “things” than allocating resources to become experts on the mobile connectivity market. In order to cover the globe, IoTSPs must become knowledgeable about the mobile network operator ecosystem and choose the right partners with the right technology and the right roaming agreements for their smart connected device service… Whew! This is difficult enough for companies that are in the mobile business. There has to be a better way for IoTSPs to navigate this landscape.

• IoTSPs must select and negotiate among the mobile data plans offered by the MNO when MNO agreements are made. Unless the MNO offers flexible plans and their OSS/BSS systems can support those, IoTSPs may end up paying many times the data used for big buckets of data use vs. actual use. IoTSPs are most often nimble, innovative companies that would like to see the same flexibility their MNO partner.

• With standard SIMs having a single set of mobile operator credentials, IoTSPs do not have the ability to choose which MNO is used even if there are multiple MNO’s providing coverage in the area. There are providers that offer fixed multi-IMSI technology that can help alleviate this problem, however, the industry standard programmable eSIM technology provides the most flexibility, interoperability, and future proofing in this area. With an eSIM solution and a suitable number of MNO partners, an IoTSP can define selection criteria to select, download, and enable the best operator credentials that meet the smart device’s needs for data rate, quality, and coverage among other parameters.

• IoTSPs will often deploy their globally delivered or traveling smart devices with a standard or “roaming-only” global SIM capability. With a roaming-only global SIM, data must originate and terminate from the network of the “home” mobile network operator. This is the mobile network operator who’s network credentials are currently being used to connect to the foreign mobile network. As a result, data that is generated by a connected device can be routed across very long distances before it is consumed for use. This can result in poor user experience. With the next generation eSIM capability, the credentials of a mobile network operator, in the country or region, can be dynamically downloaded and enabled on the smart device, allowing for data access in the local area, providing a lower latency and therefore improved user experience.

Next week we’ll discuss these challenges from the point of view of the MNOs. Stay tuned!

IoT Challenges for Mobile Network Operators and IoT Service Providers

IoT, or Internet of Things, is the concept of connecting devices to the internet. This can take the shape of any device, such as watches, refrigerators, headphones, vehicles, and even tennis shoes. By nature, these connected devices generate data about user activities and events, thus allowing strategic data to be mined by IoT service providers (those creating the connected devices). In turn, this enables service providers to improve user experience and customer satisfaction. According to the June 2017 Ericsson Mobility Report¹, a good portion of the connectivity for these connected devices can be via wide-range radio or cellular.

 

 

 


Challenges related to world of IoT

For Mobile Network Operators (MNOS), or the networks providing internet connectivity for connected devices, IoT connectivity, either locally or via roaming, presents many challenges:

  1. 1.  Providing coverage assurance: while some devices only communicate sporadically, others send data and can make calls constantly, making it difficult to anticipate, and therefore assure, necessary coverage
  2. 2.  Competition for the same customer (the IoT Service Provider)
  3. 3.  Roaming bill shock when sending traffic to roaming partners
  4. 4.  Inability to guarantee connectivity and user experience of traffic from a partner network

For IoT Service Providers the challenges are around:

  1. 1.  The logistics behind shipping, testing and activating millions of SIMs around the world
  2. 2.  Negotiations with mobile operators across the world for IoT rates and coverage, which is typically not the core competence of IoT Service Providers
  3. 3.  Paying many times for big buckets of data use vs. actual use
  4. 4.  Ability to control which MNO the IoT Service Provider uses when given a choice of many MNO’s
  5. 5.  Data that is generated by a connected device can be routed across very long distances before it is consumed for use. This can result in poor user experience

The embedded SIM (eSIM) stands to improve these scenarios and make the objective of more reliable connectivity a possibility. By allowing a single device to switch to multiple local SIM profiles, based on location of use, allows for the reduction in roaming costs.

What is an eSIM?

While historically connected devices have required either a wireless signal or a SIM card to stay connected, the development of the eSIM card has the potential to improve the capabilities of these connected devices. While a normal SIM is restricted to one network profile, thus complicating the ability of a device to stay connected once the user has moved from their home network, the eSIM allows for several network profiles. Any device using an eSIM card has the ability to switch as many domestic network profiles as possible, allowing the user to use a local signal with any of these embedded profiles. With multiple network profiles to choose from, roaming rates may no longer apply while traveling.

It also removes the necessity of switching out SIM cards within the device, as the eSIM essentially makes the switch for you. User experience and customer satisfaction is vastly improved via the direct processing of the data close to the user, therefore resulting in an overall user experience that is lower in roaming costs, greater in coverage, and improved in ease of use.

Next week, we’ll discuss how eSIM can actually solve the challenges we have mentioned above.

1 Heuveldop, Niklas. “Ericsson Mobility Report.” Edited by Patrik Cerwall, p. 16., www.ericsson.com/assets/local/mobility-report/documents/2017/ericsson-mobility-report-june-2017.pdf.

2 “Roaming IoT Platforms: An Evaluator’s Guide to Connecting Global IoT Devices.” p. 16., uros.com/research/roaming-iot-platforms-white-paper.html.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Key Concerns in Roaming For MNOs

The first observations in Latin America

The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a far-reaching concept. It is revolutionary in several areas for roaming services and is changing the landscape with new requirements and needs from MNOs. iBasis recently had the opportunity to present at WASL WG, a GSMA organized event for LATAM MNOs in Panama City on in April 26th, 2017. The topic: our strategy to provide worldwide reach for IoT devices and help MNOs to grow their revenues with new businesses at a global level. Here are some observations and experiences shared by the MNO participants.

 MNO Challenges and Opportunities with IoT
After presenting the iBasis strategy on how we work together with and support MNOs, we were able to validate and conclude that this topic is still very new. IoT can generate a new revenue stream that not only affects roaming departments, but also other local M2M groups within the MNO. If we focus on the roaming groups’ concerns as of today, we notice that the main concern is about how they should adapt the roaming rates based on the new behavior of devices or “things” with SIMs when they are roaming. Since most of the time these devices consume low BW and generate high volume of signaling, the current roaming agreements are not adjusted to this reality. An additional concern is the fact that some international devices become permanent roaming elements due to the international deployment of a device that is not going to move once it is deployed on-site. This creates issues when permanent roaming is not allowed.

In both cases, the major challenge of the MNOs is to identify these “things” or devices in their networks, become aware of their behaviors, prevent extra costs in their network services, and generate sufficient revenues to maintain productivity in this new reality. In order to help MNOs do this, we need to provide the tools that will faciliate their adaptation to this changing technological environment.

New IoT Business Opportunities for MNOs are in Early Stages
Another topic that is important to MNOs is understanding the new businesses associated with the “Internet of Things”. Previously we were trying to identify how they could adapt their current services to fit this new environment. It is just as important however to create new business practices and services to engage. After discussing this with several MNOs, we concluded that the understanding of the their potential revenues and their role in the global environment is still in an early stage. A couple of facts make these changes problematic for MNOs.

First, MNOs tend to focus only on the local or domestic environment where they have permission to operate. Second, the devices or “things” are no longer equivalent to individual subscribers as they previously were. Third, devices can be manufactured in one country and deployed in others. Lastly, there is much variability in the likelihood for those devices to travel or not travel. The combination of these things means that MNOs are facing a unique challenge that will require help from other players in the industry to ensure their continued growth and that they take advantage of the global nature of this new system with more transnational relationships.

iBasis’ Role in IoT
iBasis’ new role in the Internet of Things addresses the challenges MNOs are facing and at the same time help IoTSPs to take advantage of all the benefits available from the variety of MNOs around the world. iBasis IoT network services reduce IoTSP and MNO costs as well as increase the revenue for all the players involved. This will help the “Internet of Things” grow faster and expand its global reach.

Complete the form below to request a copy of the recent WAS Panama presentation on “The Rise of Internet of Things” by Vanesa Matamoros.

[contact-form-7 id=”4261″ title=”Presentation Download Request IoT”]

Interested to learn more about what iBasis can do for you? Please reach out to Vanesa Matamoros at vmatamoros@ibasis.net or Rich Pellegrini at rpellegrini@ibasis.net.