eSIM and Subscription Management for Utilities

By Sam Brown, Business Development Manager for OEMs, at Valid.


eSIM and Subscription Management for Utilities

The next step in IoT communication

Embedded SIMs have opened up a variety of opportunities to key IoT & Utility players within the market. While SIM cards have been tested for decades, it was clear that with the advantage of the digital transformation and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), the mobile industry would need a less power-hungry solution that didn’t need to be physically replaced every time an update is needed, specially when it comes to utilities applications, and devices that exists in extreme conditions such as smart metering and connected cars. All while establishing communication to collect and transmit information over the air.

More than ever, utility devices need to rely on remote management as they become smaller and more connected. It’s very important for utilities providers to act faster to fix a problem in their devices or network, and even predict where an issue might occur with them before it happens, in order to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and avoid a bad digital experience from their customers. eSIM and Subscription Management solutions give them the power to do so.

Apart from that, the remote provisioning of embedded SIMs also solves manufacturing problems for smarter devices including logistics barriers, commercial restrictions, new regulatory compliance, and cybersecurity concerns.

Manufacturing struggles

The ability to be able to manufacture a device with a remotely provisional service solves problems with connectivity straight from the manufacturing line. It’s known that to manufacture a connected device with a traditional SIM manually loaded and to test it in a factory before it’s being shipped to the country where it is deployed can be very unreliable. The device needs to be reopened in the destination and a new local traditional SIM is loaded to replace the first one. When we switch this process with an eSIM solution, it’s possible to overcome the errors of the manual process. The eSIM can be loaded into the device at the point of manufacture with a test profile network, it can be verified and then reloaded with a local network profile without any manual handling of the device thus removing any human error or complications at the destination. In addition to that, the device can be set up to ‘self-select’ its own network profile once deployed and powered on, overcoming the issue of selecting a network with no or low signal in the deployed area by selecting a different network for that specific device.

Longer life cycles

Another relevant point of utilities devices is that they tend to be in the field for many years or have a longer lifespan than others. Due to that and to the fact that they are usually implemented under extreme temperature, vibrations, or deep conditions, over the air updates are essential for their durability and maintenance during their entire lifecycle. In that case, the eSIM & Subscription Management solutions offer a future-proof security solution, as well as prevent network lock in, while offering the possibility to change the devices’ data plans during their lifespan, without ever visiting it in the field for replacement.

Smart metering and the evolution of security and data collection

When it comes to offer a better service, while improving the consumer experience, smart metering is a great use case to showcase the advantage of remote provisioning services.

The smart meters can be used to monitor a full range of utilities, including electricity, water, and gas. They became very popular in the past years due to governmental requirements for real-time consumption data to better manage supplies and consumer’s usage. An intrinsic part of the industry 4.0 and smart cities revolution.

The embedded SIMs, together with a subscription management solution, are able to provide an authenticated and flexible connectivity service through mobile networks, all under a security-certifiable infrastructure and optimization of the devices for low power consumption – 3 of the most important benefits of having a secure element working together with a utility device in the field.

In addition to that, the solution allows a safety environment to be provided in extreme conditions, ensuring the miniaturisation and ruggedness of devices, all while offering cybersecurity resources to prevent devices and services from tampering and online attacks, ensuring consumer’s data privacy.

Embedded SIM and remote provisioning management are future-proofing smarter cities and bringing convenience to citizens around the world.

In 2020, the installed base of smart gas meters in Europe were around 39 million units, with a 33% penetration rate. This smart meter base will continue to grow, accounting for a growth rate of 10.1% between 2020 and 2026, reaching 70.1 million units, according to Berg Insight.

Given that more Mobile IoT connectivity is widely available over the past couple of years, now is the time to utilise it and with only a 33% penetration rate in 2020, there is still a long way to go. I will be attending this year’s Enlit Europe conference in Milan, Italy, from November 30 – December 01. Please contact me to discuss your specific eSIM Utility needs.

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