The questions from the audience, and answers from the partners

The questions from the audience, and answers from the partners

Q&A for the Webinar on Oct. 28th, 2020 with Truphone, STMicroelectronics, Digi-Key Electronics and IoT Now

STMicroelectronics, Truphone and Digi-Key Electronics came together to help businesses supercharge their IoT and break down the barriers to large-scale International IoT adoption and held a webinar on the topic in partnership with IoT Now.

The webinar outlined how eSIM is enabling a new world of flexibility for IoT Apps and devices and showed how organisations across the ecosystem are coming together to make this opportunity accessible for all.

Industry leaders STMicroelectronics, Truphone and Digi-Key Electronics discussed the key trends that are influencing this drive towards eSIM enabled solutions, why now, and the different environments and use cases that are influencing this change. And why it’s more important than ever that those in the industry come together to deliver easy, smart, scalable solutions.

About the partnership – Industry leaders in their respective fields: ST, Truphone and Digi-Key Electronics have come together in partnership to deliver a comprehensive, flexible, end-to-end solution for businesses of all sizes. Together they bring a wealth of IoT capability and experience to businesses looking to deploy at scale and speed, taking advantage of eSIM and the latest IoT devices and applications.

Truphone – Global connectivity solutions provider and eSIM pioneer.

Digi-Key Electronics – Full-service distributor of electronic components globally. To buy STMicroelectronics' top-class GSMA embedded SIM (eSIM or eUICC), designed for all industrial devices, with Truphone’s IoT Connectivity, visit Digi-Key Electronics’s website.

STMicroelectronics – Global semiconductor and electronics applications provider. For more information on STMicroelectronics’ products, you can take a look here.

The 3 speakers covered several questions asked by the audience during the Q&A session at the end of the webinar, but here are the outstanding questions that they didn’t get a chance to cover during the live webinar.

1) For which other application beside mobile phones will eSIM grow?

We think that several IoT use cases are going to benefit from eSIM technology.

We have all the advantages for OEMs to deploy global uses cases with Bootstrap connectivity and being able to choose the connectivity provider without the need to physically replace the SIM card and thus simplifying the SIM logistics process, and of course for the small wearables and tracking devices where we have the possibility to reduce the device size by removing the need for a replaceable SIM and use a smaller form factor like MFF2 or WLCSP.

2) Can any cellular modem use the eSIM?

GSMA SGP 02 specs have specified device requirements, a modem compiling to these requirements will be fully useable (i.e. ability to switch profiles) with an eSIM.

Currently there are several cellular module makers (Murata, Sequans, Quectel, Telit, Nordic, Sierra Wireless…) that fully support eSIM technology on most of their modules.

3) What will be the winning eSIM form factor for IoT standard plug-in MFF2 Wafer level package or even iSIM integrated into SOC?

This will vary from use case to use case, the idea of the eSIM is to remove the complexity behind physically replacing the SIM so the embedded form factors such as MFF2 and WLCSP.

4) How do we incorporate eSIM into wearables?

Wearables are one of the best use cases for eSIM, and eSIM is already being successfully used in some devices (Apple Watch, Samsung Smart watch). The management of the connectivity in such wearables may be done like a consumer device where the final customers can choose the best connectivity provider for them. Due to the design and size perspective, the eSIM in the MFF2 or WLSCP format would be used so that the SIM card is no longer a blocker for the device size and functionalities.

5) How can eSIM, IoT edge computing and AI all come together for business users?

Well, this is still a long way as all technologies are still each in their maturing phase. Let’s try to address this question from the eSIM perspective. As you would know the eSIM in IoT is driven from the server side as the device today would not be able to know which operator is best for it. But moving forward, with AI and edge computing, the whole ecosystem will make the devices much smarter: it would mean the eSIM could be efficiently and automatically managed depending on the network conditions and capabilities and not human driven.

6) Will eSIM devices be cost-competitive with existing data SIM devices?

If we look in the midterm as the eSIM market is growing and eSIM is being massively adopted by the biggest mobile phone OEMs, the manufacturing costs will definitely drop. Small silicon formats will become recurrently cheaper than the removable plastic SIM.

But right now, the biggest value in eSIM is the flexibility it brings not only for the OEM but also for the final consumer.

7) How will the large Telcos react to increased eSIM adoption, given the inherent conflict it poses to their traditional business model by lowering barriers to switching for clients?

Mobile carriers will need to rethink their business models in order to survive the global adoption of IoT. Carriers will need to target OEMs and IoT enablers to sell mobile data by bringing a flavour of the B2B model to their existing B2C model. The ability to switch between carriers will help negotiate better rates and improved services for the end user. This will help carriers bring innovative ways of keeping and building the trust of their existing customers and create positive competition. We are currently conducting some research on how the mobile operators see eSIM and how it would be included in their roadmap in the next few years, so stay tuned.

8) What’s the availability of eSIMs though electronics distribution channels such as Digi-Key Electronics?

eSIM is allowing the OEMs to take care of the distribution of their devices bundled with an eSIM. Electronic channels such as Digi-Key Electronics are therefore definitely the way forward. Digi-Key Electronics and Truphone are partners, so OEMs can buy the eSIM with Truphone global bootstrap connectivity and plug/embed into their devices.

STMicroelectronics chip, with embedded Truphone connectivity, and available on Digi-Key Electronics’ website

9) Do you differentiate between eSIM and iSIM and how do you see them each fitting within the IoT market (e.g. applications served)?

With the iSIM solution, all SIM functionalities are directly integrated in MCU (usually in cellular modem). You do not have any more a tamper resistant secure element. But, in fact, several points on iSIM solution are still under discussion (regarding the personalization process, security and certification) and several GSMA groups are working on the iSIM. That’s why, for now, we see more demand on eSIM solution.

10) I would like to discuss and understand the BPM process involved in eSIM / eUICC subscription management for IoT connectivity?

The eSIM will always come with a bootstrap profile. Once the eSIM will connect to the network it may connect with the SMDP / SR (Remote SIM provisioning platforms) for further download the profiles. The SMDP being the profile owner, it is usually owned by the carrier, whereas the SMSR (the eSIM controlling entity) is owned by the OEM / device manager.

In terms of BPM, you will need to understand the technical statement here which is that an SMSR needs to be integrated with an SMDP to order/download profiles. So, from an OEM's perspective, they will need to choose a global bootstrap profile, then depending on the area where the device is deployed will need to agree with carriers to sell them profiles via their SMDP to be downloaded on the devices (but this is a very high-level explanation!).

11) In addition to the Connected Car segment that has adopted eSIM and is well-known, which other vertical segment do you see growing and adopting eSIM M2M? Manufacturing with Private LTE? Smart meters etc/Utilities? others?

On the consumer electronics’ side, wearable devices, personal monitors and trackers are using eSIM, as well as “always connected” laptops and tablets. When it comes to IoT verticals, logistics with global footprint tracking devices, utilities and smart grid should onboard eSIM technology as DSOs. Utilities providers, with their 10-20-year device lifecycle, also want the flexibility to change connectivity provider during that long lifecycle of the device.

Connected factories is another vertical we see could also benefit from the eSIM, where private/public profiles can be managed.

12) Do you expect a completely different way of standardization in the case of IoT eSIMs, compared to the consumer eSIM?

Yes, GSMA has released two different standards for consumer and M2M with two different models.

In the consumer model, all connectivity provisioning and control are directly managed by the end-user on his device. It is a “Pull model”, the end user requests a profile from the device.

In the M2M model, the connectivity is directly managed by the Subscription Management platforms and the end-user just enjoys the connectivity service. It is a “Push model”: the connectivity profiles are pushed from the platform onto the device.

13) The traditional SIM is 'standard' globally and has been unchanged since it was first deployed in its original version/form. How many different 'versions' and different standards are already in place for the eSIM? And how is that helping or hindering at-scale roll-out?

SIM cards have gone through multiple releases over the past 25 years, but yes, the main concept did not change. eSIM (which is relatively new compared to its ancestor) is going through new standards almost yearly. These changes are intended to improve the security and the way the eSIM operates and addresses each use case.

For the GSMA M2M eSIM, the specification SGP.02 version 3.2 is now mature and massively deployed on the field. For your information, we could find also newer versions including additional feature such as in SGP.02 v4.0 introducing the M2M service provider concept and SGP.02 v4.2 introducing the ieUICC.

14) Is eSIM right for projects with monitoring detection and control of fire and air pollution?

If you’re planning to scale this use case globally or across a wide geographical area where you wouldn’t want to go back to the field on a regular basis to update physical SIM cards in order to set up a new mobile operator for instance, eSIM definitely is of greater value.

It will bring you the whole flexibility of getting connectivity everywhere without having to change the physical SIM card.

15) Other than the connected car, what eSIM-enabled M2M devices are already commercially available? And what devices do you expect to see in widespread use next?

Some wearable devices are already using eSIM, as well as “always connected” laptops, tracking devices with global footprint, smart agriculture use cases, and soon the utilities vertical should onboard eSIM technology as DSOs and utilities providers with their 10-20-year device lifecycle, and who want the flexibility to change connectivity provider during that long lifecycle of the device.

16) Any use case in smart agriculture? How can we also consider eSIM in smart factories for Industry 4.0?

Yes, the eSIM use case helps every IoT industry, even though the smart agricultural device will stay in a farm and won’t be changing profiles as frequently, but for the device manufacturer shipping devices globally the single SKU concept eSIM brings would reduce the overheads of managing multiple SIMs on multiple devices. Secondly as we are talking about farms mostly all operators within a country might not have the best coverage in the remote areas, here eSIM would come handy to download and enable the operator profile which can provide the best coverage in such remote areas.

17) What are your views on the evolution of GSMA eSIM standards? M2M (SGP01/02) and Consumers one (SGP21/22). There are some activities to look beyond the current M2M GSMA standard to bring more agility/flexibility for tackling new use case/new IoT world.

We are anticipating the V3 specs of the consumer eSIM. The idea is to bring more flexibility around the concept of remote profile management in the consumer space which was previously only available for the M2M model. This will not mean that M2M specs are obsolete, but due to the growing demand of consumer devices with eSIM, GSMA and its members are working actively to bring more flexibility.

18) Are you sure that LTE-M roaming will continue as Release 15 is being deployed by the MNOs?

We do not see why not. In fact, the standard recommendations are developing and evolving in a way to facilitate and improve roaming for MIoT technologies as defined for instance in 3GPP TS 23.682 Rel15 or in in GSMA “MIoT Roaming Guidelines”.

19) Is any certification process involved before going to the market?

The GSMA defined a specific certification procedure for eSIM components as well as for the platforms. This procedure guarantees the security, the integrity, and the interoperability of all GSMA eSIM solutions. As a customer, the only thing you need to check is whether the module is certified.

For information, Truphone’s platform and ST4SIM-200M solution are both GSMA certified.

20) Where can I find the list of available global operators that work with Truphone?

To get a detailed list, please get in touch with Truphone’s Sales team.

21) How can the eSIM help in asset tracking, when network operator presence is not available in a region?

If the contracted network operator is not available in a specific region, the eSIM will allow you to change to an operator who is present in that specific area.

If you have any question about the webinar, the partners or if you would like to discuss with our experts, please contact us here.

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