The internet of things (IoT) is coming, and it’s coming fast. Gartner, a market research firm, reports that the number of connected devices in 2017 went up 31 percent from 2016 to 8.4 billion devices. They expect that number to climb to 20.4 billion by 2020.
What is the Internet of Things?
Put simply, the IoT is when devices other than mobile phones or computers connect to the internet. You have probably seen versions of this already.
There are smart security systems that let you monitor your home from anywhere you can get an internet connection. They lock the doors, turn on your lights, or talk to someone who rings the doorbell.
Some high-end refrigerators use internet technology, too. Samsung’s Family Hub fridge lets you see who’s using the fridge and even talk to them. If you’re at the grocery stores and you want to know what you need, the fridge can give you an inventory.
The IoT shows up in our televisions, cable boxes, kitchen appliances, and even sous vide cookers. Who knows, you might even see smart toasters some day.
The most exciting areas of IoT are in business or government. According to Verizon, Farmers use remote sensors, dug into their fields, to help them manage their crops. Healthcare providers use connected devices to trace medicines from manufacture to the patient. Governments use drones to see where roads are breaking down so they can better maintain infrastructure.
But the most exciting piece of IoT is the unknown. Right now, internet connected devices just take our current capacities and add communication. We can look in our fridge from afar or get alerts, but it’s all an extension of what we already do.
Think about this: When the internet first began, we used it to do remotely only what we did in person. Rather than using the post office, we sent letters online. Rather than printing an article, we put it on a website.
Who would have thought that we could use the internet to get a ride or surgeons could do surgery from thousands of miles away? The most exciting tech is what we can’t even imagine right now.
eSIM and IoT
If you don’t know, eSIM is a replacement for the old-school SIM technology. In your mobile phone, most of us have a physical SIM card that identifies our phone and controls how it connects to the wireless network. If you want to learn more about eSIM, check out our full article on the topic.
eSIM allows that identification to change without exchanging physical cards. The mobile carrier can rewrite the SIM directly with just a push of a button.
What does eSIM have to do with the internet of things? Like the upcoming 5G network, eSIM is going to make it possible to expand internet connectivity at a pace that we couldn’t imagine before it. A lot of the info below comes from a report by Beecham Research, ltd. if you want more, read the full report.
No Removable SIM Slot
Currently, if you want a device to connect to a wireless network, it would need a physical SIM slot. That makes designing a smart device more difficult. Not only do you have to figure out a way to make the SIM card accessible, it’s also more expensive to put the slot in the device.
Worse, though, is the work of installing a physical card into these devices. Imagine that a farmer wants to buy a thousand sensors to monitor crop health. It would take tons of labor to slide a SIM into every device.
eSIM means the carrier can rewrite the SIM at the same time. The labor savings alone makes the IoT more economical for everyone.
eSIM allows wireless providers to rewrite the SIM, called remote provisioning. Consider the example with the above farmer. After installing a thousand sensors in the field, the farmer wants to change providers. With a physical SIM, the farm would have to pull up every sensor and physically change out the card.
With eSIM, you can reprovision these devices in the field. You won’t have to physically go to the store to get a new SIM. Instead, the wireless provider can change it over in a flash.
This could also be really cool for the future of smart driving and driverless cars. Imagine calling up a driverless car. You don’t want to sit, bored, for the whole ride. So, you pull up some streaming service on the screen in the car.
Who pays for the wireless use? The car company won’t want to. They would already pay for the connection needed to direct the car as it drives.
If they do, it’ll only add a big up charge to the cost of the ride. What if the car could automatically sense your eSIM and immediately rewrite its connectivity to use your data plan? eSIM will enable a fantastic user experience, making mobile entertainment more accessible on the go.
The Developing World
Most of the developed world is bound to the physical infrastructure we built for the internet. We have lines that run underground to funnel internet connectivity into our homes which we broadcast by WIFI. We have to use cable or DSL providers to get our internet.
Much of the developing world, however, bypassed wired connections and went directly to mobile. All over the world, the primary way to get the internet is through a wireless carrier on a smartphone or tablet. These countries will benefit most from eSIM technology and the IoT, because you need a SIM to connect a smart device to the internet.
Even more importantly, eSIM will enable people in more remote areas to have the same access to reprovisioning that people in cities do. If you lived in an area far from a retail outlet, you’d have to travel there to get a new SIM or have it delivered. eSIM will cut that step out, making it easier to switch wherever you are.
eSIM is major piece in the rising IoT market. It will enable a rapid expansion of connectivity and user options in that market. More than just mobile phones, eSIM could help revolutionize multiple industries, making everything they produce less expensive and better.