eSIM and the future of IoT connectivity

The role of eSIM in IoT connectivity

What is the eSIM?

eSIM technology is well on its way to revolutionizing the IoT ecosystem as it is tailored to meet the requirements of miniaturization, ruggedness and security of IoT.

The eSIM or embedded SIM (also called embedded UICC) is a new secure element compliant with GSMA specifications and designed to remotely manage multiple mobile network operator subscriptions. Available in various form factors, either plugged-in or soldered, the embedded SIM is easy to integrate in any type of device.

Key capabilities of eSIM include over-the-air remote provisioning and seamless subscription management.

Remote SIM provisioning

eSIMs require the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to incorporate an embedded UICC at the production stage. IoT devices with eSIMs can be provisioned on demand following initial connectivity during their bootstrap process. But how do the IoT devices initially connect?

eSIM enabled devices contain a generic profile that is applied once the device is powered up for the first time (the bootstrap process). This generic profile contains pre-configured business rules that define the carrier to be used per territory. Thus, the device recognizes the current country and applies the business rule to connect.

Once the connectivity is established, a secure over-the-air provisioning process is initiated to download and activate the operational subscription on the embedded SIM.

Lifecycle Management

Following the initial provisioning, the IoT device connectivity needs to be managed as changes may occur during the lifecycle of the device. Subscription changes that may occur:

  • Downloading of new data plan
  • Switching between different subscriptions
  • Removing old services
  • Maintaining optimum connection conditions at all times.

Remotely managing the connectivity of the IoT device is critical to the success of any IoT project, and the eSIM will play an important role to this success!