iSIM: How a “zero-footprint” authentication token is preparing for IoT democracy Bigger is not always better. In IoT, downsizing can bring significant benefits, and the arrival of integrated SIM (iSIM) technology is poised to provide a major boost. Embedded SIMs (eSIMs) represent a step forward from SIM card types, allowing smaller devices and more capable IoT devices to be designed and manufactured. iSIMs further advance the state of the art, helping to minimize form factors, improve performance and even streamline supply chains. Industry observers agree that the market is hot; According to Counterpoint Research, the number of eSIM and iSIM devices shipped is expected to reach more than 6 billion by 2025. In traditional cellular applications, a physical hardware communication module allows devices to establish a network connection, with a SIM card or eSIM present to identify and authenticate subscribers. . iSIM technology integrates these functions into a single, purpose-built System on a Chip (SoC) within the communication modules, giving it a “zero footprint”. Whether it’s a card or embedded, a SIM is a small computer chip that requires power to function. Since iSIM-enabled devices do not require an external chip to provide power, iSIM can also reduce power consumption in devices with a small footprint. By eliminating the need for a physical SIM or eSIM, iSIM technology addresses several important challenges for IoT innovators, especially when it comes to miniaturization. iSIMs make it possible to completely eliminate SIM card slots and eSIM sockets, which currently occupy a large part of the PCB area of ​​small devices. The advantage is also the elimination of production steps and a reduction in the energy requirements of the equipment. Industries where every fraction of a millimeter matters – such as wearables, e-textiles and smart trackers – are the most important markets for iSIM technology. But what else can this next-generation technology do for IoT innovation? Open up potential new markets: iSIM reduces power requirements and eliminates the footprint of SIM cards, opening up opportunities for new markets beyond small consumer devices and battery-powered devices that are not always connected to the mains. Industries such as smart utilities, smart drones and smart meters can benefit from iSIM technology based on their energy consumption alone. Streamline the manufacturing processes of equipment and components. iSIMs take a step out of the manufacturing process and resource sharing and help IoT innovators accelerate their time-to-market. This has a huge impact when it comes to mass production within the supply chain problem we see today. For example, in automobile manufacturing, manufacturers often have to wait until each part is available before they can use the assembly line. iSIMs eliminate waiting parts in the process, helping manufacturers maintain operational lines with minimal risk of downtime. Break the value chain. iSIMs may require a different search process than traditional SIMs and eSIMs, as there is no option to change your connection provider by physically replacing the SIM card or eSIM chip. As iSIM is integrated into the connectivity module, manufacturers and product designers need to identify connectivity providers that can offer a good initial bootstrap profile for iSIM early in the process. While it may seem like an extra burden, finding the right partner to connect with is a necessary step that can save time and money on deployment. These opportunities highlight the importance of considering iSIM technology and connectivity providers at the same time. For example, IoT innovators using iSIM may need connectivity options that provide full functionality, including unique key information, secure loading of carrier profile information into the module, cellular network connectivity, secure bootstrapping out of the box, and connectivity to an advanced service platform. providers. Having this in place early in the process means faster time to market. IoT democracy is moving forward rapidly. As new technologies such as iSIM move from proof-of-concept to production, new partnerships will emerge to make it easier for IoT innovators to not only envision but enable the next generation of IoT. Author Bio: Kenta Yasukawa is the CTO and co-founder of Soracom, where he leads the deployment of the most advanced cloud-native telecommunications platform designed for the needs of connected devices. Prior to founding Soracom, Kenta worked as a solution architect at AWS and conducted connected home and car research at Ericsson Research in Tokyo and Stockholm. Kenta holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology with additional studies in computer science at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University.