April 16, 2019 16:06 CET

Evolution of SIM Cards

The Evolution of SIMS: we've come a long way, baby

For more than 25 years the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card has been fundamental in the development of mobile telecommunications. First introduced in 1991 SIMs began life about the size of a credit card and were designed to store information used to identify and authenticate users.

SIMs were also used to connect devices to 2G GSM (Global System of Mobile Communications).  SIM advancements have developed in close parallel with advances in cellular network evolution – but not all SIM cards were created equal.

SIMs & IoT

The rise of IoT (Internet of Things) meant the development of a different kind of SIM. While an M2M SIM card acts similarly to a standard SIM, it does a very different job, offering features and functionalities that you won’t find on the SIM you have in your phone. Among other things, an M2M SIM allows you to monitor data usage and SIM activity, you can activate and deactivate it, and you are able lock it to a device. You can also share data across all devices and have multi-operator coverage.

As SIMs continue to evolve, particularly in the IoT arena, the impact on business will be tremendous.

New SIM technology

With everything from smart homes to autonomous cars and Industry 4.0, the integration of IoT technology into both our everyday lives and a company’s core business is inevitable. But first we need to turn on the eSIM, which in many ways holds the key to the connecting world.

Unlike with smart phones, where you can connect to WiFi and download an eSIM profile, with IoT there is not a person to connect and download the eSIM locally, so it has to be done remotely.

And there-in lies the beauty of the eSIM: everything can be managed remotely, including switching your connectivity provider, which offers tremendous savings when it comes to logistics and field support. And having a solution based on the global GSMA standard means you ensure both compatibility and future proofing.

Speaking of the future, what is next in store for IoT when it comes to SIM cards? Will they even be with us in five or ten years’ time – or will we have already moved on?

Predicting the future

We could see all devices connected through secure connections enabled by eSIM technology, and it will be possible to change a subscription model remotely for optimal connectivity.

We’ll also see Soft SIMs and Integrated SIMs. Soft SIMs are built-in SIMs, meaning essentially there is no SIM at all in soft SIM-enabled devices. These will play a big role in how quickly and seamlessly tracking devices connect.

An integrated SIM is a hardware-centric SIM integrated into the chipset. These SIMs will, among other things, simplify supply chains, enable smaller devices, improve power consumption, reduce costs, and maintain high security levels.

SIM cards will continue to evolve – and even when they are no longer a physical presence their functionality will remain critical to your IoT solution.