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The Difference Between a Regular Smartphone SIM and an IoT SIM for Enterprise

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Illustration: © IoT For All

Despite looking identical on the outside, the features and functionality offered by regular SIM cards for smartphones differ vastly compared to IoT SIM cards, and using a made-for-enterprise SIM can save your business a lot of time and money.

The key difference lies in functionality and manageability – a regular smartphone SIM card just provides connectivity and doesn’t include the additional functionality offered by IoT connectivity providers. These enterprise-oriented functions are precisely what makes it simpler to scale your business. 

Coverage, Cost and Contracts 

Regular smartphone SIMs have contract terms that are bound to one local network, with differing terms and rates across foreign networks. This has several implications for businesses, which include: 

  • Tedious sourcing and managing of different connectivity providers on a per-country basis, with their respective contracts and bills. 
  • Complex inventory logistics to ensure devices are shipped with the right SIM to the right destination. 
  • High roaming charges that apply when devices are deployed in different countries or move across borders. 
  • Rigid terms predetermined by network operators (including contract periods, usage volume, pricing and packages, and billing periods). Changing contract terms, depending on the aspect, can be difficult or outright impossible. 

This is when IoT SIMs come into the picture with enterprise-focused features and operators behind them. Unlike regular smartphone SIMs that are hard to manage at scale, expensive and complex to deploy across many regions, and come with inflexible terms, IoT SIMs are the opposite and open up possibilities such as: 

  • Contract terms that accommodate your specific business needs (such as usage volume, billing date, and more). 
  • Flexibility to pause, resume and cancel a SIM card subscription, as well as ability to change terms associated with it. 
  • Availability of pay-as-you-go tariffs for additional pricing flexibility. 
  • A single SIM allows access to multiple local networks. This gives better coverage within the country since the SIM can now switch between networks, prioritizing the best available one. 

The ideal network operator of the IoT SIMs would also have arrangements in place for pricing across countries and networks, eliminating the need for using and switching between multiple SIM cards. 

Access and Security

Regular SIM cards assign dynamic IP addresses to the device that change each time a device establishes a data connection. Only corporate users that have additional remote access and management requirements have purchased private APNs with static IPs and IPsec connection to their corporate network.  
 
In IoT use cases, the use of private static IP addresses in combination with a VPN is best practice – they allow devices to be accessed remotely when deployed in the field. The service personnel can log-in to the device remotely and execute commands, analyze log files or change configurations.   

Management, Control and Transparency

Unlike smartphones, many IoT devices don’t have user interfaces for settings, network status, data usage and other information – some may not even have screens at all. Network operators need to supply customers with such insights (ideally in real-time) on a connected network, data volume used, and costs associated with each device; plus the ability to manage those options and more. 

Such management and control features are crucial in many situations. For example: 

  • You may want to specify a data usage limit to remove the risk of a misbehaving device from using excessive data and racking up charges. 
  • Perhaps some of your devices are only actively used during certain periods of the year and you want the ability to temporarily disable connections for security and cost reasons. 

Such a connectivity management portal would only be available with business-focused network operators. Using regular SIMs aimed at smartphones and consumer devices typically omits such functionality, since there is no need for their associated providers to provide management platforms to the average user base. 

SIM Form Factors and Durability

Both regular and IoT SIMs share the mini, micro and nano form factors that we’re all familiar with. However, IoT SIMs are also available as MFF2 embedded SIMs that are smaller and can be soldered onto a device. This opens the door for a wider range of use cases and device design. 

IoT SIMs, unlike regular SIMs designed for consumer use, are also available with more durable construction. Industrial-grade SIMs are slightly thicker and certified to be resilient to the elements. These SIMs are highly suitable for devices deployed in harsh environments, where they could be subjected to high and volatile temperatures, humidity, and chemical exposure. 

Low-Power Technology and Other Features for IoT 

Consumer smartphones and mobile devices are optimized for throughput, to reduce loading times, and improve user experience. IoT devices aren’t just about throughput – support for the latest technologies is crucial to maximizing efficiency, reliability, and time between hardware upgrades. This is especially important if devices are deployed where accessibility and maintenance are limited. 

Cellular Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) is the latest technology that provides energy efficiency, coverage, and costs advantages. While other operators require special SIM cards to use these technologies, forward-thinking network operators, such as EMnify, fully support CAT-1 and CAT-M from the get-go. 

There are also two enterprise-oriented features that are highly necessary but are not offered by consumer SIM/network providers with their non-business plans. Those are: 

  • APIs allowing for integration of SIM management capabilities and providing information availability to your application. This will be a huge boon to productivity and efficiency. In addition, good API framework and documentation can make your developers happier and more efficient since they will be able to perform said integration more quickly and maintain it better. 
  • Dedicated enterprise customer support that takes away waiting time and uncertainty for customers, and offers them expertise and swiftness in helping them get started or resolve problems. Enterprise customer support is also typically reachable via multiple channels (such as telephone, email and live chat) and available around the clock to resolve any mission-critical issues that may crop up at unexpected times. 

Conclusion

To run an efficient, scalable business, it’s important to understand the need for enterprise-oriented SIM cards. The additional functionality and capabilities offered by them over consumer SIM cards allow you to consolidate management of devices to reduce costs, maintain security and reliability of data transmission and send your devices far and wide in confidence. 

A preferred provider will deliver feature-rich, enterprise-first IoT SIM cards, and ideally come complete with a fully-fledged platform where you can easily manage your SIMs in your deployed devices, remotely.

Source: https://www.iotforall.com/difference-between-regular-sim-iot-sim/

Cyber Security

Akamai Acquired Asavie Provides Mobility, IoT and Cybersecurity Solutions

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Akamai revealed on Tuesday that it had acquired Asavie, a company based in Ireland that offers applications for mobility, IoT and cybersecurity.

Asavie has built a tool that supports businesses by positioning assets within private network slices to protect their phones and IoT computers. The organisation claims that to protect networks, it uses machine learning and anomaly detection.

Akamai believes that its purchase of Asavie is part of its 5 G security advancement plan and plans to extend its capacity to protect smartphone and other wireless devices in more and more remote business environments.

Akamai has agreed that the products from Asavie will become part of its product range for Encryption and Personalization Services.

The group announced that it had purchased Asavie in an all-cash transaction that is not supposed to have a material effect on its 2020 financial performance, although it has not announced the exact sum it paid for the Irish company.

Asavie hires over 130 employees, The Irish Times said, and last year the firm posted sales of EUR 23.6 million ($28 million) and pretax income of EUR 1.9 million ($2.2 million).

According to Dr. Tom Leighton, CEO and co-founder of Akamai, “We believe the acquisition of Asavie would help Akamai ‘s carrier partners meet business and mid-market consumer demand for IoT and mobile device protection and management services.” “What’s interesting about the Asavie approach is that it has been shown to be very easy to scale and secure as more IoT devices connect via cellular and 5G.”

A total of 28 organisations have been purchased by Akamai in recent years, including four companies last year. Earlier this year, Instart, a California-based company that offers solutions to enhance application efficiency , customer interface and security, announced the acquisition of clients and intellectual property.

Since 2015, Akamai has posted sales above $2 billion last year and hit almost $3 billion last year.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/akamai-acquired-asavie-provides-mobility-iot-and-cybersecurity-solutions/

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The Lucrative IoT Opportunity for Communications Service Providers Post COVID-19

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Illustration: © IoT For All

As we entered 2020, many Communications Service Providers (CSPs) were optimistic about finally fulfilling the early promise of IoT by harnessing the potential of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) to offer a rich source of future growth. Many CSPs understood that to realize this opportunity, they needed to change. Enterprises wanted fuller solutions that would drive their digital transformation faster and that were simple to buy, fast to implement, and simple to consume.

In a recent Analysys Mason study, 59% of enterprise customers would only buy MEC as part of a solution. Solutions require a much fuller set of capabilities that typically come from partners. So, are CSPs successfully managing to offer compelling solutions that accelerate digital transformation for their customers?

The answer: not entirely. Omdia’s quarterly 5G innovation tracker reveals that so far, 32% of enterprises have chosen DIY (to go it alone and build their own 5G solutions), 40% looked to others like systems integrators for solutions, whilst only 21% purchased directly from CSPs. Although it is early days, CSPs must drive this ratio above 50% to make sense of their 5G investments.

The ‘Positive’ Impact of Covid-19

Regardless of Covid-19, the fact that only one in five early enterprise 5G solution deals are CSP-led, proves that the way CSPs want to sell is deeply at odds with the way in which their enterprise and SMB customers want to buy. What’s more concerning is that some of these early large enterprise deals, such as the ones we see in automotive with VW and BMW, cut out CSPs entirely – even for connectivity. Businesses want to buy complete solutions that meet their needs and help them solve business problems, rather than connectivity and separate technology products they need to integrate. This is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity that requires CSPs to collaborate and better understand their customers’ needs, becoming ecosystem-enabled solution providers to satisfy them.

The global pandemic is causing many enterprises to hit the ‘fast-forward’ button on IoT/5G technology solutions. Indeed, 5G investment in China is already recovering because enterprises there recognize the importance of automating processes to guard against a second wave of the pandemic. We expect this trend to unfold globally as Covid-19 makes digitalizing physical assets, automating through industry 4.0, and securing supply chains more relevant than ever.

As Covid-19 resets how enterprises use technology, major verticals including automotive, manufacturing, and logistics will look to rebuild differently. Within this is an opportunity to test the mettle of solutions that harness IoT, 5G, and MEC with AI. In the U.S. for example, 67% of businesses believe that 5G use cases can deliver 11%+ cost reductions over the next three years. Nearly a quarter (23%), believe that 5G use cases could deliver revenue growth of 11% or more. Now is a very good time for CSPs to change their approach to selling 5G and non-5G driven IoT propositions. But are enterprises willing to buy from CSPs?

Enterprise IoT & 5G Market

CSPs are pushing at an ‘open door’: 98% of European, 92% of Asian, and 87% of North American businesses are willing to buy advanced solutions from CSPs. In particular, North American businesses are most positive about the role CSPs will play in 5G, with 96% believing they will do more than provide connectivity. Large North American enterprises say they want to work with CSPs as they can orchestrate ecosystems of partners, manage complex programs, and are perceived to be more flexible than other potential 5G solution providers.

Enterprises, more than CSPs, recognize that building effective IoT solutions is a team sport. They don’t expect one organization to have all of the answers. But they do expect industry players to collaborate to provide solutions to their business challenges. This is where the problem currently sits. Enterprises are looking to buy solutions, CSPs want to sell products – in effect, to organize themselves in a way that best suits how they want to structure their business internally rather than how best to meet customer needs.

Businesses want to find the ‘perfect’ solution to their problem, rather than invent one by integrating multiple products – which is too slow and costly. Instead, they want to buy complete IoT solutions ready to be consumed in a bite-sized way, with no upfront investment and/or risk. It’s not about buying a network slice or MEC product. For businesses, it’s about finding pre-integrated solutions and the best available technologies to quickly drive efficiencies for customers or help them grow revenue as part of their digital transformation. For CSP, it’s about retaining customer relationships and growing revenue.

Even the larger enterprises don’t have the knowledge or capabilities to deal with the integration of new standalone technologies. So, they look to partners that understand their challenges, orchestrate the right ecosystem of technologies and players to deliver solutions that perfectly solve their problems. Covid-19 will only accelerate this trend as it renews pressure to digitally transform faster.

Ecosystems

Historically, CSPs have tended not to work in this way. Now, they really need to. One key step is to adopt a more open and collaborative mindset. This includes taking the lead in setting up and managing ecosystems with third-party partners.

Ecosystems are an effective way for CSPs to plug their knowledge and technology gaps, broaden their portfolio of services and solutions, and importantly encourage fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.

For CSPs to monetize IoT throughout the process of enterprise renewal during Covid-19, it will require having industry-specific solutions underpinned by an enabling technology layer that is massively scalable. Strong partner ecosystems will generate powerful network effects around a digital business platform that provides massive economies, frictionless process execution, and zero-touch operation for customers. These architectures and solutions need to be capable of being converted into technology wrappers and services.

IoT Innovation Requires Collaboration

Solving customer problems requires a broader set of perspectives and the exchange of customer insights and ideas for new products or services, as this rarely happens effectively and sustainably in silo. This is the concept behind an ecosystem-enabled solution provider. They bring together a broader set of capabilities around a digital business platform to prototype and test those new ideas with customers. In these new multi-sided business models, a partner ecosystem is key for generating new ideas, bringing new data sources, driving innovation, expanding offerings, and extending into the white space between old industry verticals and growing revenue.

The pandemic we’re experiencing is hastening change. There isn’t a single entity that hasn’t been affected by it. Our global economy is in a holding pattern and budgets are tightening. This laser focus on how to spend carefully will lead both enterprises and SMBs to accelerate investments in automation, remote business operation, and remote working in the short term. While this is process is in motion without a hard timeline, the CSPs that will prevail will be the ones that harness a powerful ecosystem to provide full solutions to problems and in so doing, build much strong and closer customer relationships.

CSPs are poised as ecosystem-enabled solution providers that can foster growth by combining 5G with technology – if they embrace platform-based business models and orchestrate partner ecosystems to satisfy the needs of their enterprise customers. This requires a change in mindset, experimenting with business models, accelerating innovation, and speed to test and monetize new offerings that are co-created with an ecosystem of partners and underpinned by the right IT platform to support these new ways of working.

Source: https://www.iotforall.com/the-lucrative-iot-opportunity-for-csps-post-covid-19

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Consumer Interest in IoT Devices Varies Among Gender, Need

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🟥 We’ve all seen a horror movie where a killer finds a conveniently unlocked door, pushes open a window, or breaks a glass windowpane without alerting the unsuspecting residents. Bad news for Michael Myers: developments in smart home technology have made it a little harder for these intruders to break in — in fact, that’s the main draw of this technology for some people who buy them.

🚀 What if, upon hearing a suspicious noise outside, you could tell your phone to lock your doors? Or if you could call the police to your residence simply by shouting the command out loud?

It might make horror movies a little less interesting, but it also makes real people safer. 🔻

A survey conducted by home insurance company Hippo broke down what drives consumer interest in smart home devices, finding varied results among gender and purpose. The survey asked 1,000 smart tech users to share their opinions. ⤵

➤ Women look for safety first; men want convenience ⤵

👉 If life was a horror movie, women might have the upper hand. Survey data showed that women are most interested in purchasing home monitoring systems and technology that will keep them safe. The general consensus was that smart alarm systems are the way to go when shopping for smart home tech.

Men, on the other hand, are more interested in energy-saving technologies that will help lower their utility bills. They’re also looking for technologies that will make their lives easier. When it comes to protection, however, men tend to opt for camera systems.🔻

➤ Overall, convenience is key

More than just scaring away things that go bump in the night, smart home technology has opened up a world of possibilities for people looking to make their lives more convenient. You can unlock your front door with your cell phone, adjust the thermostat without leaving your seat, and ask Alexa for that final recipe step without having to wash off flour-covered hands.

🔺Among homeowners, this added convenience was the biggest driver of smart home excitement — 46% of them said this was why they decided to invest. Also driving smart home tech sales are home monitoring capabilities, 17%; added protection, 16%; and lower utility bills, 16%.👇

➤ Today’s smart homes ⤵

🚩 It’s more common than not for a home to have some sort of IoT device, whether it’s a Google Alexa device or a doorbell with a camera attached. Today’s smart homes have a variety of devices performing a variety of functions. The most common four are the following: 🔽

◆ Smart appliances: Appliances like laundry machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators can be hooked up to a smartphone to alert you when you’re out of milk or let you start preheating the oven before you leave work.

◆ Alarm systems: With a smart alarm system, your phone will let you know any time someone opens or closes a door, a window opens or smoke is detected in your home.

◆ Cameras: Smart cameras can send footage to your phone so you can monitor an outdoor pet’s activity, or make sure no one is snooping around your property.

◆ Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat lets you control the temperature from your smartphone and can let you set the temperature to automatically increase or decrease based on lifestyle patterns or weather.

If it sounds like we’re living in the world of tomorrow, it’s because we are. Smart devices have made life more convenient, safer, and more connected than ever — what once required time and effort can now be done seamlessly from your mobile device.

🔥🚀 With a smart camera that alerts you every time a door or window is opened, good luck to the slasher movie villains of yesteryear.

 

↘ Source: Emily is a content creator for Hippo. When she’s not typing away at a computer, you can find her hiking with her dog or doing a crossword.

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