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What are IoT eSIM and SIM cards and how do they work?

What are IoT eSIM and SIM cards and how do they work?

IoT deployments are on the rise. Where before, this technology was considered highly technical and complex to implement, today we are seeing a spike in IoT connectivity across a multitude of sectors and use-cases, largely down to big improvements in its ease of use brought about by IoT SIM cards.

Let’s review the different types of IoT SIM cards and how they’re making it easier to implement IoT at a global scale.

What is an IoT SIM card?

Simply put, an IoT SIM card is a SIM card which enables the use of a network for IoT services, or as it is sometimes referred to in this context, Machine to Machine (M2M) communication.

IoT SIM cards are not all built the same, however. While some use-cases still rely on physical SIM cards to connect IoT devices, eSIM technology is on the rise, enabling users to connect their IoT devices and manage the IoT profiles entirely over the air.

What is the difference between an eSIM and a regular SIM?

The eSIM eliminates the need for plastic SIM cards altogether. A key benefit of eSIM card over the standard plastic SIM is that it won’t lock you into any one network provider. An eSIM is completely rewritable, meaning you can switch networks quickly and easily—similar to how we use different WiFi networks depending on where we are and which one works best.

In the world of IoT, eSIM becomes particularly handy because it can be activated remotely using Bootstrap technology. With a plastic SIM, as with your mobile device, you have to physically insert the SIM card into the IoT device. With Bootstrap technology, for IoT devices that come with eSIM card already built in, you can connect it as soon as you take it out of the box—to any network, from the other side of the world if needed. In removing the hardship of figuring out the right IoT SIM for the correct device, Bootstrap gives you the first, best connection—no matter which country the device is deployed in.

How does eSIM work for IoT?

As we just touched upon, eSIM is a great beneficiary for IoT as it simplifies the process of implementation and makes it much easier to roll-out IoT devices at scale.

To put this into context, say you were a company that produced sensors or trackers for large machinery so that companies could monitor their delivery trucks, with Bootstrap, you can connect and monitor a whole fleet of trucks in moments, no matter where they (or you) are in the world. A whole lot easier than adding plastic IoT SIM cards manually.

And that’s just one example. Rameez Sultan, Remote SIM Provisioning / eSIM Product Manager at Truphone adds: “The remote management of these types of profiles allows the device owner to update their devices with local network profiles, meaning they’re not reliant on roaming connections which can have a big impact on pricing, latency and data use. It’s also a great alternative when faced with permanent roaming issues where the local legislation doesn’t allow certain devices to roam permanently in a specific country.”

"The flexibility of eSIM to enable remote switching of networks will future proof IoT devices. For example, today, network providers across the globe are analysing the possibility of shutting down 2G and 3G networks. Some tier 1 operators have already started this, and others will surely follow. Now imagine the IoT SIM you have in your devices is only allowed to connect to a 2G or 3G network, the cost of replacing the SIM cards from each device (assuming it is physically even possible) would be as laborious as it is expensive.”

How can I get my business up and running with IoT SIM and eSIM cards?

You’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to be an expert on IoT for you to successfully implement it into your business with great results. What you do need is a reliable provider who knows their stuff.

You want to make sure any IoT eSIM cards you implement are future-proofed with the ability to scale—as this technology is only going to get more commonplace.

A great option is Truphone for Things, our all-encompassing global IoT connectivity solution that brings the true flexibility and freedom of eSIM to the growing Internet of Things. Our Truphone for Things solution houses everything you need in order to deploy seamless connectivity with IoT SIM and eSIM cards to multiple devices straight out of the box.

While the network itself is entirely global and able to connect and be deployed from anywhere in the world, the control you have over your devices comes from one set space: the portal itself. This means that no matter how widely spread your fleet, it can be managed simply from one secure place. It’s IoT made simple and ready to make a real difference to your business.

For more information on Truphone for Things, visit our website or speak to an expert.

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