eSIM – The Missing Link Between Machines
Imagine a world where almost everything is connected. You walk into the house and the lights go on, or while driving home the air-conditioning unit in your home turns on 10 minutes before you arrive cooling the room to optimal temperature. Or a system that charges your Telsa Powerwall battery during off peak hours and then switches to battery during peak hours to save money. These are just some of the endless possibilities with a new protocol called embedded SIM or eSIM.
The eSIM standard will enable a single standard applicable to all brands which would give consumers the ability to seamlessly switch carriers without changing cards. It could also allow multiple carriers on a single SIM – goodbye dual SIM!
This new standard is driven by the developments in the Internet of Things (IOT), and according to GSM Association (gsma.com), is a ‘vital enabler for Machine to Machine (M2M) connections’. This will usher in an exciting future of connected machines.
Imagine ‘Rise of the Machines’ but without the destruction and terminators hell bent on annihilating the human race. It will also open up a new market.
Mobile phones today can be used to connect to all sorts of devices. However, with the eSIM this could be a lot easier with machines coming out of the production line with an embedded SIM and inbuilt ability to connect with other machines.
The protocol will be provided remotely allowing users to subscribe to their operators over-the-air (OTA), cutting the logistical costs significantly and will benefit a wide range including the operators, SIM manufacturers, businesses and finally the end users.
Operators will have the flexibility and opportunity to expand their range into a wider device range. Who knows? You could even have a toaster connected to an operator network in the near future. This also cuts down cost of manufacturing physical SIM cards and logistics associated with traditional cards.
Business will have the flexibility of enhancing their products without compromising existing SIM capabilities. Undoubtedly, this will put an end to the micro and nano SIM differences between Samsung and Apple.
The end users (consumers) should now have a wider range to choose from not only in terms of carriers but also devices as the protocol will undoubtedly cause an explosion in the smart device market. However, technology is a two edged sword and there are issues that we need to aware of.
RCRWirelessNews reports interviews conducted by Arthur D. Little with more than 30 mobile company executives found the following issues with the embedded SIM proposal; loss of customer relationship, security concerns and loss of brand value.
While the chances of machines rising up against the human race are a less than zero, the prospect of people abusing this new standard are very real. However, that is not stopping major operators from welcoming the eSIM specifications including AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange.
It is unclear whether mobile phone manufacturers are welcoming this standard but it is expected to be ready sometime in 2016. Whatever the outcome, it will surely trigger a new evolution in the communications industry – the eSIM protocol will become the missing link between machines.