In a whitepaper, titled, ‘Moving Beyond Consumer SIMs for IoT’, Vancouver-based Sierra explains how traditional SIM works and why we need to move to a smart SIM:
Unlike consumer devices, IoT devices operate independently, most often without human intervention, and may simply stop working if a connection fails. What’s more, IoT devices often need to operate in challenging environments – deep indoors, underground, in rural areas or urban canyons. They may be part of stationary or moving machines, working within a limited geographical region or across continents. Every deployment has its own unique requirements, and these very specific operating constraints add to the SIM challenge.
Using traditional SIMs for IoT connectivity can result in lapses in coverage, interruptions in data transmission, and, ultimately, expensive service calls to rectify the issue. Using multiple service providers helps with coverage, but adds significant complexity and cost in managing multiple vendors, SIMs and platforms.
While IoT devices can be deployed anywhere in the world, the problem is that unlike mobile phones, IoT devices are always in roaming mode, even when fixed in place.
The Smart SIM claims to work best while roaming as it selects the best network quickly and in fact the best signal operator, provided the networks allow it, besides of course having the capability of interacting with IoT devices.
The whitepaper tries to simplify it, stating:
For IoT devices working with traditional SIMs, the charges associated with roaming can be crippling. An IoT device can be deployed in any geographical region, far away from the factory or the corporate headquarters that represents “home.” The IoT devices used in automotive and transport applications are in near-constant motion, passing through any number of cellular coverage areas on a regular basis. Even IoT devices that are fixed in place, and never change their location, are still roaming, from a cellular point of view, since they’ve been commissioned for use somewhere other than “home.” In the IoT, roaming is a constant.
How can a smart SIM simplify things in say a payments industry? Daniel Nordholm, CTO, Bambora, a global payments company headquartered in Sweden said, “In the payments industry, it is crucial that our terminals are connected at all times, allowing our customers to transact business. The broader coverage benefits of the Sierra Wireless Smart SIM ensure we can deliver service to our customers at all times. We were also looking for a single SIM solution to serve all of our terminals regardless of geography in order to drive down the complexity and cost of deploying and supporting our global customers.”
Emmanuel Walckenaer, Senior Vice President, Cloud and Connectivity Services at Sierra Wireless, added, “Our Smart SIM technology allows us to provide our customers with a connectivity service designed for the coverage and quality of service that their IoT use cases require. When combined with our IoT Acceleration Platform, this unique, fully integrated device-to-cloud service accelerates our customers’ time-to-market.”
How does the Smart SIM work?
Smart SIM holds multiple operator agreements on a single card, which means access to more networks than any single roaming SIM. Customers can benefit from devices being connected more often and a simplified, more cost effective single SIM solution to IoT connectivity with best coverage.
Smart Network Selection
Smart SIM does not navigate toward a preferred partner network with poor connectivity rather it selects the best available network ensuring greater connectivity unlike roaming SIMs. Devices are also protected against data connection termination with the automated detection and re-connection logic in the SIM.
Quicker adaptation at Outages
Unplanned network outages or zones without coverage (white zones) cause significant interruption but Smart SIM tests for a valid data connection and quickly finds a new network autonomously when an outage occurs.
Simplified and more cost effective global IoT Connectivity
Smart SIM provides multi-operator global coverage effectively ending the need to source multiple SIMs, connectivity agreements and platforms. Plans are available to support local, regional or global deployments at any given day.
The SIM operates on 2G and 3G as of now, but claims to be LTE-ready. It will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona later this month (22 -24 February). Sierra claims that it has more than 700,000 SIM subscribers globally that “count on its connectivity offering to power their IoT deployments.”