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September 14, 2022
Belgian telco BICS and French engineering giant Thales are working together to smooth out some of the pain points associated with eSIM technology in IoT devices.
To cut to the chase, the level of integration required with mobile network operators is proving a barrier to entry for enterprise IoT, according to BICS and Thales. So they are coming together to tackle this, hoping to be able to increase eSIM adoption and in turn give the enterprise IoT space a boost.
The companies noted that Thales has created an eSIM activation solution for IoT devices, while BICS will serve as its connectivity provider. Essentially, they are enabling eSIMs to connect directly to mobile operators’ remote SIM provisioning platform, removing the complexity for enterprise users.
The companies’ eSIM Connectivity Activation service allows for greatly simplified logistics and manufacturing because it uses a single SKU – that’s a stock keeping unit, or essentially an identification code. It’s worth noting that IoT solutions specialist Telit, which is in the process of acquiring Thales’ cellular IoT business, earlier this year unveiled two new modules based on the Qualcomm 9207 LTE IoT modem, for its LTE IoT portfolio to enable single-SKU global deployments.
As a further slight digression, Telit announced the acquisition of the Thales cellular IoT business, which uses the Cinterion brand for its products, in late July for an undisclosed sum, creating a new entity to be known as Telit Cinterion. Thales will retain a 25% stake in the new entity, which, presuming the firms get the required regulatory approvals, is slated to close in Q4.
But back to today’s announcement. The eSIM Connectivity Activation tool offer will make installation faster and less complex, the companies said. Basically, enterprises developing IoT-connected devices will be able to integrate eSIMs with significantly less investment, effort and deployment time.
“Removing the obstacles for eSIM management with IoT devices will lead to far broader adoption of eSIMs in the industry and will finally allow eSIMs to deliver on their long-awaited promise of greater flexibility for IoT connectivity,” said Luc Vidal-Madjar, Head of M2M/IoT Business at BICS.
“Unlocking eSIM use in this way will be a critical step in supporting bigger and bolder global IoT deployments,” Vidal-Madjar said. For consumers and enterprises, this will ultimately bring massive IoT closer to becoming a reality. This in turn will mean large numbers of new smart products for end-users and promising new business opportunities such as for industry 4.0, smart metering, smart cities or connected alarm systems.”
Research published by IoT specialist Transforma Insights earlier this year demonstrates just how important broader eSIM use could be to enterprise IoT adoption.
The analyst firm in June revealed that on average eSIM devices cost 8% less over the lifetime of the device than removable SIMs. The figure rises to 11% for eSIMs that are part of an integrated module, and to 13% for integrated, or iSIMs; the latter forms part of the device’s system-on-a-chip (SoC), rather than requiring specific SIM hardware.
“Embedded SIM (eSIM), and to a lesser extent its coming successor integrated SIM (iSIM), have established themselves as part of the range of capabilities that need to be carefully considered by an organisation when planning a cellular-based IoT solution,” said Matt Hatton, co-founder of Transforma Insights.
“Any enterprise will need to consider the overall lifetime cost of the device, with considerations of both direct and indirect costs of using the various options,” he advised. “Overall we see there being significant savings for the average deployment from using eSIM/iSIM and RSP [remote SIM provisioning].”
As such, companies like Thales and BICS acting to make the transition to the eSIM simpler for enterprises is likely to play an important role in the development of the enterprise IoT market.
Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.
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