Oliver Tucker, Co-Founder and CEO of Wireless Logic
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we live, work, communicate and do business. In fact, a recent report from IDC stated that worldwide IoT spending was valued at $52.76 billion in 2019 and is forecasted to pass the $1 trillion mark in 2022, reaching $1.1 trillion by 2023. Even though there is still significant uncertainty around COVID-19 and its impact on the IoT industry, there is enough evidence to suggest that the ongoing pandemic will only accelerate change further. Now is the time for businesses to establish an understanding of how IoT developments can add value, reduce risk and drive innovation, with a focus on making the end customer experience more frictionless.
Connectivity is often an afterthought for many businesses when building IoT devices. But in order to best understand evolving developments, companies need to consider a number of factors, focusing specifically on simplifying cellular connectivity. Businesses should explore how eSIMs can add significant value to their business deployments, by addressing customer pain points and creating global connectivity opportunities. They should also evaluate the longer term benefits and innovation that 5G can bring to companies IoT applications. Finally, the demand for robust security on IoT platforms should be considered to reduce various security threats.
Streamlining customer experiences with eSIMs
It has become increasingly clear that traditional SIM cards can often restrict opportunities for IoT connectivity and flexibility, especially for large scale deployments. With businesses locked into one mobile network on a standard SIM card, the only way to change networks is to change the SIM itself. This process is not only hugely inefficient and impractical when it comes to IoT devices, which by their nature can be globally distributed, but it’s also very expensive and even impossible if the device is inaccessible.
This is where eSIMs come into its own. eSIM technology can offer improved scalability, international deployment and control across multiple global MNOs. It can also bring new features aimed at improved flexibility for IoT projects. eSIMs give customers the reassurance that they are not tied into a lifetime of deployment, as they have the ability to switch to a better suited network and solution. What’s more, eSIMs allows users to provision different operator profiles depending on where a product ends up in the world by selecting the best network and even securing an ongoing new revenue stream to enable end-users to sign up to connectivity directly. It is also ideal for devices that move across country borders globally, with the ability to automatically switch to a cheaper local network, leveraging local connectivity rates and avoiding expensive or unexpected roaming charges.
We believe that the rise of eSIMs represent a shift in the way the IoT ecosystem operates. Accompanied by the right eSIM platform, businesses can unlock value with a streamlined user experience for managing connectivity, enabling devices to be deployed easily and flexibly. It’s critical to consider partnering with a provider that offers a simple and intuitive solution with reliable 24/7 support for connected device functionalities. These types of managed service platforms are the future of IoT as they help to manage multiple networks and navigate additional complexities.
Unleashing IoT innovation with 5G
5G is the latest generation of cellular connectivity and is set to transform economies and societies across the world. With 5G initially focussing on consumer offerings, it is only recently that the industry has seen developments from operators in the IoT space. This commitment to innovation will go a huge way towards improving the performance, reliability and scalability of IoT connected devices in the long term.
With the commercial success of IoT based on its performance, 5G could open a new set of applications, such as autonomous vehicles and private LTE networks, in addition to enhancing low latency CCTV and surveillance. Speed is just a small part of the benefits that 5G will bring to today’s IoT applications. In fact, the longer term benefits and innovation that 5G low latency can bring are of more value for better connectivity and creating new applications. These networks will offer improved reliability and stable connections, which is critical to simplifying connectivity management of IoT devices. With the ability to handle more connected devices, businesses can benefit from increased coverage and improved user experiences.
Full 5G IoT capabilities are available in the market, but it’s likely that the industry won’t see full 5G networks for IoT devices until 2022. With a higher bandwidth and general growth to the network, 5G will open up an enhanced set of applications and opportunities. For instance, ISPs & Cloud Services Providers, Public Transport WiFi CCTV & Surveillance and, newly introduced Remote Healthcare. Ultimately, 5G networks are being built to supplement 4G networks and provide a strengthened platform to support the growth in critical communication services across the globe.
Evaluating the security of IoT data
Ever since the inception of IoT, security has been an increasing concern for the industry and its product development, with 23% of businesses in a recent report stating they had a lack of confidence in IoT device security. As a result, security standards are increasingly being put into place, including Secure by Design, defined by the UK government for consumer IoT manufacturers. Not only has this emphasised the need for robust security on IoT platforms, but it has also driven IoT providers to evaluate the security of data at every point in its journey.
In our opinion, the best practices for securing IoT devices starts with having the right mindset: a business is only secure as its weakest link. We see businesses that are often left vulnerable to potential threats due to trivial oversights, such as weak passwords or accessing data from an unsecure public IP address. As a result, organisations need to consider adding a layer of security, including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). This step is just one way to reduce various security threats across the end-to-end application, by ensuring the safety of networks with IoT solutions connected to them.
In addition to deploying the latest security measures, we have found that investing in the right people and processes are just as important. Properly trained staff armed with IoT security processes can significantly reduce the risks that stem from unprotected devices. We also recommend businesses working with partners that are processing their data safely and securely. This is where industry standards can help. By requiring partners and suppliers to be ISO management systems accredited, companies are given confidence that all security risks are managed appropriately.
Preparing for future developments
The IoT industry is evolving at a rapid pace. Businesses need to stay updated and consider the implications on future developments to ensure their company, customers and employees aren’t left behind. It’s critical that organisations get ahead of the game so that they can take advantage of the technology to make the end customer experience more frictionless and simplify connectivity management with a managed service proposition. Even though the adoption of eSIMs and 5G networks isn’t relevant to all businesses, both advancements allow companies to improve their revenue streams and capitalise on new opportunities. IoT security however, is a must for all companies, helping them to maintain more control over IoT processes and plan for the future.