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Cellular connectivity remains one of the most popular connectivity technologies powering IoT networks.

There are already more than 35 billion actively connected IoT devices in 2020, and billions of these devices are connected to each other via the same cellular technology and SIM cards we have in our phones.

Why cellular connectivity is popular is obvious: it is available virtually anywhere in the world and is the most viable solution if you are looking to connect IoT devices located in different countries (besides the significantly more expensive satellite connection).

However, although cellular connectivity does have its benefits, it’s not a perfect connectivity solution by any means. One of the key downsides of cellular connectivity is its reliance on SIM cards, and the traditional SIM cards we use on our phones are simply not ideal for IoT deployments.

This is where Remote SIM Provisioning Comes in.

eSIM and Remote SIM Provisioning

Remote SIM Provisioning, or RSP, is an official GSMA standard that is designed for the eSIM form factor.

To really understand what Remote SIM Provisioning is and its benefit, we have to first discuss the eSIM.

eSIM stands for embedded SIM, which is a new form factor of the SIM card we use on our phones. The eSIM no longer comes in the form of a physical card, but rather as a very small chip that is soldered to the device’s body.

This embedded design does come with several benefits for IoT implementations:

The eSIM is protected by the device’s body, so it is generally much more durable than a traditional SIM. Ideal for IoT devices that are deployed in environments with harsh conditions.
You won’t lose the SIM card for an obvious reason
When the device is stolen, you can remotely deactivate the eSIM so the thief won’t be able to use the device. For detection purposes, the thief also won’t be able to turn off/throw away the SIM card.

However, as we know, a SIM card is typically tied with a network provider. If we want to switch from Verizon to AT&T, for example, we’ll need to get a new SIM card from AT&T and replace the Verizon SIM card. How can we tackle this issue with an eSIM?

This is where RSP comes in.

What Is Remote SIM Provisioning

Remote SIM provisioning, as the name suggests, is a function that allows users to remotely provision a SIM card using over-the-air commands via a website or app.

In practice, RSP allows the eSIM to remotely download and store SIM data from different network providers in the same eSIM, eliminating the need to switch between different SIM cards when we want to switch between networks.

This can be a major benefit in IoT deployments.

Replacing a SIM card in a single smartphone or tablet might not be a big problem in our daily personal usage. However, what if an IoT device is deployed in a remote area (i.e. in the middle of the ocean) and we need to switch to another network? What about IoT networks with hundreds if not thousands of interconnected devices in them?

In such cases, Remote SIM Provisioning powered by the right provider that offers bulk management software will allow users to remotely manage all the IoT devices connected in the IoT data plan without needing to physically touch the device, even when these devices are located halfway across the world.

To summarize, In an IoT deployment, eSIM and RSP will provide you with:

Centralized bulk management: by partnering with the right IoT data plan like Truphone for Thins, you’ll get a bulk management platform that allows you to monitor all the devices in the network in one place.
Versatility: with the eSIM being remotely programmable, you can easily switch between network operators when needed. You can also allow an IoT device to connect with more than one network provider to ensure reliability.
Rapid onboarding: eSIM and Remote SIM Provisioning allow users to rapidly onboard new devices and sensors to the network. This is a very important feature in IoT projects with many interconnected devices spanning multiple networks.
Cost-efficiency: RSP allows us to monitor and even remotely update IoT devices, lowering the logistic costs and expensive lifecycle support costs common in remote IoT deployments.

Why RSP Is Important for IOT

The key advantage of RSP in IoT implementations is the ability for IoT operators to easily switch between different operators without needing to touch the device and replace the SIM card.

In practice, however, there are also various other benefits of RSP for IoT:

Durability and reliability

When IoT devices are deployed in remote areas and harsh environments, the durability of the SIM card can be an important issue. We’ll need the SIM to be able to reliably function even in areas with extreme temperatures, vibrations, or impacts.

The eSIM is designed to be more durable and is protected by the device’s shell. It can last for up to 10 years even in extreme conditions.

Smaller form factors

The eSIM eliminates the need for the SIM card tray, so device manufacturers will have more versatility to design a smaller device ideal for remote deployments in tight areas or to accommodate components like bigger batteries or additional sensors.

Global connectivity

For businesses looking to scale their IoT projects into an international or even global scale, Remote SIM Provisioning is a crucial feature to consider. By partnering with the right IoT data plan provider, eSIM and RSP can power your IoT network for not only international but global connectivity.

Closing Thoughts

Remote SIM Provisioning is a very important feature for a more ideal cellular connectivity in IoT projects. RSP provides users with more versatility to remotely onboard a new device/sensor and to change between networks without needing to touch the device at all. This is ideal for large-scale IoT projects with hundreds of interconnected networks, as well as for devices deployed in hard-to-reach areas.

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