IoT Blog
IoT Blog

IoT SIM: Global Businesses and the Impact of IoT Technology Advances

by Cyril Hullin, Vice President Product Marketing, Cloud & Connectivity Services
The first-ever consumer SIM card was made in 1991 and, more than 25 years later, businesses are still using this technology to connect their devices. That’s because SIM cards remain one of the most secure communication tools that a business can have in its arsenal. However, when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), traditional SIM cards are no longer an effective long-term solution. While traditional SIM cards work well for consumer devices, IoT-enabled devices are far more independent from human intervention, and therefore, they require a highly stable and secure connection which is beyond what most traditional SIM cards can provide. 

When you use an IoT SIM card—rather than the traditional cards of the past—you can connect billions of IoT devices securely. Companies can ensure that connections remain strong in challenging environments, such as urban canyons or rural farms. If you use a traditional SIM in these environments, you’re more likely to experience lapses in coverage, which, in turn, result in expensive service calls in order to fix the problem. To reduce service complexity, cost and time to market, you should consider using an IoT SIM card that’s specific to your business model and operating constraints. 

Different Locations Require Different Management Strategies
In theory, a SIM card can connect any cellular IoT-enabled device, whether that device is located in London or New York. However, today’s reality is that SIM cards and their compatible cellular networks are subject to the rules, regulations and network availability of their region of origin. This can cause a major headache for businesses because they have to renegotiate with the SIM manufacturer in each new service country in order to get the physical SIM cards to send to customers. They also need to manage the subscription overseas, which means negotiating partnerships with global networks, and continuing to follow their specific rules and regulations in the future. What’s worse, this is a process that never truly ends. Whenever your business expands to a new country, you need to repeat this integration process all over again. 

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How Your Business Can Sidestep SIM Card Disadvantages
Most of the problems related to SIM cards are easily solved by having a single card and platform that handles all of your subscriptions, whether they’re in Los Angeles, London or Tokyo. This is why it’s important to use global SIM cards, rather than traditional, single-network roaming cards.

The Sierra Wireless Smart Connectivity offering provides a single worldwide SIM that connects to over 600 partner networks in over 190 countries. This makes it easy to manage logistics for global deployments. Whatever country or region a company is operating in, Sierra’s patented technology devices are automatically connected to the optimum network available. By constantly scanning for and connecting with the highest- quality networks in a given location in real-time, it also maximizes data quality across all these geographies.

Smart Connectivity also provides resilient global coverage. Sierra Wireless’ Core Network maintains secure access to multiple networks in each country. Added to this, Sierra has multiple routes to each network. The result is that if the Smart Connectivity service is able to eliminate any local coverage gaps that might occur if connected to single operator’s network. In addition, Sierra Wireless’ Global Network Operation Center (GNOC) runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are constantly monitoring our core network throughout the world and working proactively to prevent service disruptions.

Roaming SIM cards typically only connect to networks that are preferred partners, even if it means connecting to a network with poor coverage. This slows your connection speed. Instead, with Sierra Wireless' Smart Connectivity offering, the worldwide SIM is always connected to the network with the best coverage, and can quickly switch networks if it detects that a better one is available. Your customers are less likely to deal with outages or “white zones,” since the card is constantly searching for the best connection.

Smart Connectivity also includes the AirVantage® IoT Platform, which manages all SIMs, subscriptions and devices out of the box, through a single interface. All new devices and SIMs are paired and pre-declared into the platform when shipped, which highly simplifies integration. With such a degree of integration from the device to the cloud, Smart Connectivity guarantees a low start-up time and a high level of security. Sierra Wireless’ embedded modules provide instant connectivity to local or global mobile networks at power-up. There is no need to integrate them into the management platforms of other vendors, which can be costly and time consuming.

Start with Sierra today to learn more about how we can help you make the transition to the latest smart connectivity technology.