Juniper Research: eSIMs set to accelerate the adoption of M2M technologies
Written by: Laurence Doe | Published:

Juniper Research has found that eSIMs (embedded SIMs) are set to accelerate the adoption of M2M technologies while traditional SIMs will remain the most used form of connectivity hardware over the next two years in a The Future of M2M whitepaper.

The report states that the introduction of the eSIM will further enable IoT and that the future adoption of eSIMs will be dependent on device manufacturers such as Ericsson, Gemalto, Jasper and Sierra Wireless.

Juniper Research also states in the report that the extent of development of eSIMs will be dependent on “conditions, necessities and acceptance by players in each individual market vertical”, and that each vertical is likely to adopt eSIMs at a different rate. This will be dependent on vertical factors such as:

  • Equipment lifespans
  • Size of area the key vertical market serves
  • Conditions of area served
  • Usage rates and duty cycles.

Olivier Beaujard, VP market development at Sierra Wireless, commented: "eSIM, or more specifically the Remote SIM provisioning capability of eSIM, represents the most radical change in over two decades of GSM connectivity in terms of how customers can control service provider profiles based on the criteria of their choosing. This really moves the control of the SIM and the user experience to activate it to the customer from the MNO. eSIM is still maturing as a standard and as a technology, as some earlier versions lacked interoperability between SIM vendors.

"While the notion of eSIM has been around for a number of years it has lacked standardisation, which made it difficult to change subscriptions across a broad ecosystem of operators. The most recent version of the eSIM specification now dictates interoperability between SIM cards and platforms.

"This strongly positions the technology for wider adoption going forward. It has also become a more popular topic due to the growing popularity of embedded IoT devices and connected consumer electronics devices and to date there have been around 20-30 million eSIMs shipped globally."

Whilst much attention is drawn to consumer uses, Juniper Research believes AgriM2M, which allows those in the agriculture industry to remotely monitor crops and animals – reducing the need for physical human involvement, will have an increased impact over the next 10 years as the technology is further adopted.

"The future of eSIM is promising as it opens up choice and ensures interoperability, which is vital for customers," added Beaujard. "This will enable much higher levels of adoption and a range of eSIM solutions in different markets, including payment terminals, vehicles, consumer electronics, smart metering and more.

"While the notion of eSIM has been around for a number of years in areas such as the connected car market, I believe we’re going to continue to see the most aggressive adoption with the automotive, transportation and energy markets."

Connected car

Juniper Research estimates that total data usage in the M2M telematics sector will be mainly comprised of North America and West Europe and also predicts that M2M will enable the following connected car technologies:

  • V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle)
  • V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure)
  • V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian)

Use cases such as radio, music streaming services and in-vehicle information require a much more data intensive service than other M2M uses. Juniper Research has also found that in-vehicle applications are expected to be updated as frequently as their smartphone counterparts over the app’s lifespan, further adding to the traffic attributable to telematics.

It also forecasts that the populations of more affluent regions are more likely to own their own vehicle and therefore are more likely to be be able to afford the initial cost of a system and any subsequent subscription costs. Network coverage is high in these regions as they were the first to have major roll outs of 4G and LTE coverage, a necessity for the data intensive nature of the connected car and infotainment market.

Meanwhile, the research found that other, less data-hungry M2M modules, would see significant increases in adoption across an array of key verticals, including healthcare, agriculture, smart metering and smart home automation.

According to Juniper Research’s new study, M2M: Strategies & Opportunities for MNOs, Service Providers & OEMs 2016-2021, M2M technology will further the development of autonomous driving systems in the future.

Cellular V2V (vehicle to vehicle) technology, enabled through M2M, is expected to be the cornerstone of the system over the coming years.

Consequently, the report stressed that operators will need to ensure that their networks remain able to cope with the projected increases in data traffic, especially in urban areas. Future smart city systems, such as smart parking and smart intersections, will further drive data usage and the potential strain on networks.

Research author Sam Barker commented: “The wider M2M market offers a reprieve from declining traditional voice and messaging revenues. Operators are now champing at the bit to capitalise on the growth of M2M."

However, the research cautioned that for network operators to maximise their opportunity in the space, they will need to move away from merely providing connectivity and enablement, and additionally offer value added services to their customers.

"The primary drivers for customers to select an eSIM solution today generally fall into two use cases," adds Beaujard. "The first are customers with long equipment lifespans and need the commercial flexibility to update service providers during the lifespan of that equipment.

"The second are customers deploying large fleets of connected equipment globally. This aligns with the size of area criteria. These customers are looking for a single SIM solution for manufacturing simplicity.

"The eSIM solution then allows the customer to activate the service provider profile of choice based on the geography the machine is deployed into. Automotive OEMs and other large equipment OEMs are driving this use case. As the technology matures we will see more dynamic uses of eSIM solutions which will open it up to a variety of other use cases."

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