More Resilient, More Secure, More Flexible IoT

POSTED BY Jose Sanchez
Erasing Connectivity Challenges with Thales’ new IoT Connectivity Activation Service

By Jose Sanchez, Head of Product Line Management Solutions at Thales

With decades of technological advancements under its belt, the Internet of Things still has some obvious challenges that need to be addressed – with the new Connectivity Activation service, Thales experts have worked to resolve one of the most difficult tasks: getting and staying connected, when and wherever.

Connected IoT devices and smart solutions are expanding into every industry and aspect of our lives. By 2025, predictions estimate 75 billion IoT devices will be connected with a potential market value of around $1.6 trillion. With the ability to leverage real-time data and analytics from connected devices, enterprises can gain powerful insights to help boost efficiency and productivity. 

However, the benefits that these devices can provide hinge upon strong and reliable connectivity. Ensuring that IoT devices remain connected around the clock can be a challenge for many service providers. Deploying geographically diverse and global IoT installations often requires multiple product SKUs, complicated installation logistics, and a variety of MNO (Mobile Network Operator) service agreements. For many enterprises, the complexities of managing SKUs, delivering the right product to each endpoint, and provisioning services are daunting.

The Thales Connectivity Activation service sets out to address these exact challenges with the use of eSIM technology.

What the solution is doing is tackling the challenges of connectivity activation, subscription provisioning and MNO selection. It works from the factory to the field and throughout the long lifecycle of industrial IoT devices. It uses the power and flexibility of an IoT eSIM which is integrated into the latest Thales IoT Modules and Gateways along with the Cinterion IoT Suite to get connected, stay connected, and pivot easily to new service plans and providers as needed. This helps eliminate network disruption, boost ROI (Return on Investment), and meet demanding SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

IoT Connectivity Activation: How it works
The Thales IoT Connectivity Activation solution combines four essential connectivity elements into one product. It offers an advanced IoT eSIM, the on/off switch and security guardian; a high-quality IoT Module, the cellular radio that enables connectivity; a digital ID injected into the IoT Module during secure manufacturing; and an end-to-end lifecycle management solution that remotely manages connectivity and security updates for long-life applications.

This means no more handling of physical SIMs during device manufacturing, personalisation, installation and updating. Just like consumer smartphones or gadgets can be activated and updated from home, the Connectivity Activation Solution provides the same type of services for industrial IoT solutions in remote locations across the globe. And it does so remotely without Wi-Fi or tethering by leveraging unique global bootstrap connectivity. It can handle remote provisioning of connectivity profiles during manufacturing, at device personalisation centres, or at the time of installation. This way, the best mobile network is selected based on signal strength, geography, and other conditions, and it enables switching to a backup connectivity provider to ensure uninterrupted service without a service visit.

During the long IoT device lifecycle, many things can happen – for instance, an operator may discontinue support for your technology but another network provider may become available. With the forward-thinking Connectivity Activation Solution, those options are easily available, bringing operational and commercial resilience.

Connectivity Activation – designed to make IoT solutions more resilient

From the first use of a device all the way to the end of its life, Thales’ Connectivity Activation solution helps keep IoT devices connected to the best MNO network for each endpoint without expensive service visits, even as cellular networks evolve and service updates are required.

No physical SIM handling is needed: an IoT eSIM is integrated inside the IoT Module during secure manufacturing, enabling remote, flexible, updatable MNO service provisioning without a technician inserting or changing the SIM. This also means optimised logistics for device makers. One product SKU supports all MNO networks. Regional variants are remotely personalised only at the last stage of installation, where a smart MNO selection feature automatically identifies the best service provider for each installation site, based on user-defined policies and specifications. In case of an unexpected or sudden service disruption, IoT devices automatically switch to a user-defined fallback MNO for added security. As networks and connectivity needs evolve, implementers can easily and automatically change connectivity providers via a web portal versus a technician visit.

Connectivity Activation thus means providing a robust, future-proof connectivity service around the globe and with previously unseen flexibility.

For more information, please visit Thales' website: www.thalesgroup.com/iot