Embedded SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) technology could play a major role in accelerating the development and adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) applications in the energy sector such as smart metering, demand response, energy data management and distributed resource management, according to analyst firm Beecham Research.
Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO at Beecham Research said that the traditional removable SIM card found in mobile handsets is not suited for the IoT market and particularly not for applications like smart metering.
“Instead, the cellular IoT industry has moved towards a new approach with the eUICC (embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card), which is integrated as an electronic component on the device’s circuit board as part of the manufacturing process. This improves reliability, flexibility, security and trust while reducing cost and complexity and reducing commercial risk,” he said.
This follows a report by the firm, titled Benefits of GSMA Embedded SIM Specification for the Utilities Sector, published by the GSMA in association with ESMIG and SIMAlliance and written by Beecham Research. The report highlighted the benefits of the GSMA Embedded SIM Specification and potential impact on the utility sector.
It said there were five important utility use cases using embedded SIM technology that were investigated, and this identified 14 significant benefits for utilities. These are explored under four key headings – improving reliability and reducing site visits, improving security and trust, reducing cost and complexity, and reducing commercial risk and increasing commercial flexibility. The analysts said that for the first time, some of these benefits have also been quantified.
Duke-Woolley added that as well as increased reliability to reduce site visits, the embedded SIM approach allows over-the-air management of operator subscription profiles without the need for a physical change of SIM, for example, solving the problem of operator lock-in.
“With the protection of critical infrastructure and data another major issue for energy companies, the GSMA eUICCspec also has proven security features and is tamper resistant,” said Duke-Wooley.
Energy IoT set to “grow at a fast pace”
The IoT market in the utility sector is set to grow at a fast pace over the next decade, with an ever-growing number and diversity of devices and applications requiring communications capability. Furthermore, as national governments take a closer look at communications networks to support critical infrastructure it is likely that there will be new regulatory issues that require network updates. With remote access and management, the GSMA Embedded SIM Specification provides a system that caters to these new requirements at lowest cost.
“The energy market is undergoing a period of disruption, with significant transformations in the way electricity is generated, distributed, stored and marketed, combined with mounting pressures to monitor and automate more elements of the networks to reduce fault times and balance rapidly changing demand and supply,” says Duke-Woolley.
“While the IoT will play a major role in addressing these issues we found that awareness of mobile IoT technologies and their benefits was still generally low among utilities. This latest report provides a detailed insight into the benefits of embedded SIMs, which will increasingly play a major part in future development of the IoT.”
Faced with ambitious decarbonization targets and dwindling profit margins, the aging energy industry must embrace the opportunities of emerging technologies in order to progress. From the 7-8 March 2017, the Internet of Energy event, Cologne, Germany, will use early-adopter case studies and perspectives from new ‘disrupters’ to let energy retailers, TSOs and DSOs explore the business case for IoT.