New kind of network
5G enables a new kind of network service that offers much faster data transmission speed, low latency and an ability to connect many devices. It follows its predecessors; 3G, which led to the mass use of the smartphones, 4G, which allowed for faster browsing, while 1G was about voice and 2G enabled short messages.
In this context, this innovative technology is an exciting prospect for companies in the IoT industry. However, in order for Massive IoT and 5G to grow together, key players will need to simplify the complexity of their ecosystems. To reduce the complexity, actors are channeling efforts to simplify adoption processes by leveraging remote management capabilities for connectivity profiles and ensuring that efficient security safeguards can be activated with simple activation processes. These efforts are also complimented by industry initiatives undergone by the GSMA and their establishment of relevant standards.
Before describing how actors, such as Oasis Smart SIM, have managed to reduce this complexity, let's first discuss the reasons why more and more verticals, such as the automotive industry, are seeking to combine 5G and eSIM technology.
The benefits of eSIM for Smart Cities
30 years after the traditional SIM was invented, the size of the card has decreased drastically. The eSIM chip is smaller than any other SIM form factor, to the point that it is even smaller than the MFF2. By reducing the size of the card, SIM card trays have lost their relevance since eSIMs can be embedded into the device during the manufacturing stage. This feat provides more space on mobile phones and reduces the production costs of manufacturors.
Since the eSIM is reprogrammable, the management and specification of the SIM is in the hands of the service provider. With this functionality, service providers are granted more autonomy since they no longer need to rely on the telecommunication and SIM specification. Notably, service providers are no longer constrained to selecting a SIM for a specific geographic location.
The device doesn’t need geographical location. Don’t need to select a SIM for a specific location.
3. Supply Chain
eSIMs also eliminate the need for manufacturers to select a SIM with a specific connectivity profile with a specific location since it is reprogrammable.
The technology's reprogrammability also reduces the risks of vendor lock-ins to specific networks or operators. Instead, eSIM and eUICC profiles can be onboarded from different vendors, enabling mobile operators to offer an optimal range of solutions for their customers.
5. Network and 5G
Smart cities also benefit from eSIM technology by increasing data transmission speed and improving latency. Although the importance of these improvements may vary depending on the verticals we consider, the upgrade is particularly significant for sectors such as the medical one since the speed of the network will be faster than for consumers. In addition to speed, the eSIM also ensures greater levels of privacy, especially in terms of subscriber identity.
Impacts of 5G on eSIM and the network
In addition to being beneficial to Smart Cities, 5G technology also has positive impacts on the eSIM and the network.
For the eSIM, 5G technology encrypts the subscriber's identity, increases "data" security and optimizes power consumption for M2M/IoT/NBIoT devices. 5G also inherently improves the network by increasing its speed, improving latency and dedicating slices to specific use cases (medical, automotive, infrastructure, customer etc.) For instance, the slice dedicated to medical uses will have a higher level of speed since it can be used to perform over the air surgeries.
However, beyond having positive impacts on the network, 5G technology can also be used by OEMs for cost-saving purposes.
5G - Low Powered Devices (NB-IoT)
5G improves the users ability to use low power devices, by allowing them to suspend and resume device usage.
For example, you can put the device to sleep with a backup of the current context of the specification and authentication of the selected file. You can alter the device and put it to sleep for a period of 1 second up to 2550 days (depending on the spec). During this time, there will be no power consumption.
Once the eSIM is powered on, you can restore the same network configurations, and you can perform the same operations as before the sleep.
Deep Dive on IoT & Smart Cities
IoT (Internet of Things) is a generic term. It includes a wide range of different types of devices, such as wearables, automotive, smart cities etc. Smart cities are a concrete example of connected devices that are in contradiction with their requirements.
When we compare automotive connected cars with smart metering, we realise that connected cars exchange a lot more data because they include a lot of entertainment functionalities. These functionalities requires them to communicate with a wide range of different infrastructures while smart metering, in contrast, handles a limited load of data.
For a connected car, OEMs need a high bandwidth because devices need streaming, internal data, music and geolocation, among other capabilities. In contrast, smart metering does not need a high bandwidth since less functionalities are required.
In parallel, if the car is connected with a infrastructure V2X communication. Information is needed quickly because it can impact traffic and signalization. In contrast, for smart metering, the latency isn’t as important.
Finally, cars are inherently non-static devices. They regularly change geograpahic locations while smart meters are static objects that always stay in the same place. Hence, connectivity is only used when the engine is on, allowing OEMs to considerably lower their connectivity consumption. In comparaison, although smart meters need a long battery life, consumption is less important with smart metering. Nonetheless, smart meters still need a long battery life that varies between 10 and 15 years.
Smart cities: similarities in connected devices
Despite these major differences, there are still similiraties between connected devices. The main similarity between both devices is the level of data secrecy. Although the amount of data exchanged is often significant, reliable security safeguards exist in all cases.
Does your device need permanent connectivity if it only receives data once a day ?
Is it not a new way to generate connectivity if its on demand ?
Advanced Connectivity: should it be on demand?
Beyond having positive impacts on eSIM, Smart Cities and the network, we believe that connectivity activation should also be provided on-demand to the benefit of factory and field use cases.
- Factory use case: In factories, devices often need a lot of sensors. In this use case, OEMs often temporarily need a small amount data. They may also need to test the car's entertainment system, telematics or sensors for communication. In such cases, it is essential for them to have a solution that allows them to provision data for a short period of time.
- Field use case: In the field, you may need data to enable a software update on your car. But you don’t need permanent connectivity either. For instance, if you’re a car location company, you may only need to use the geolocation fonctionality temporarily.
Advanced Connectivity - CeSIM - Oasis Cloud SIM solution
To address these use cases, Oasis has designed a Cloud SIM solution called CeSIM.
CeSIM has 3 distinct functionalities:
- The CeSIM client allows the device to be connected to the client.
- The solution works by installing a virtual wire which has the same behaviour as a traditional SIM.
- The wire is then deployed within our secure and scalable CeSIM application server. It is hosted on our own GSMA certified data centre.
But what are the benefits of CeSIM?
The CeSIM introduces a new paradigm. It allows users to be billed according to the quantity of connectivity they need to use rather than being billed according to the number of devices deployed.
- Cost and Design Benefits
The technology is compatible with current modems.
- Business Model
The CeSIM introduces a new disruptive mode that can be used for temporary connectivity. It is available on demand and you can deploy the same connectivity simultaneously for all devices.
Less CO2 is emitted because there are less devices to produce. No SIM cards to recycle. They also produce less natural resources because there is no IC to produce.
To know more about this topic, watch our 20-minute webinar led by our R&D Director Jean-Christophe VINATIER tackling the topics of 5G eSIM as a connectivity enabler and how the growth in demand of connectivity with 5G will also create use cases for on-demand connectivity through our CloudSIM.