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Thales, BICS team up on consumer-style eSIM activation for global cellular IoT apps

French aerospace and security company Thales is working with Belgium-based carrier services company BICS to simplify embedded SIM (eSIM) usage in the IoT market, the pair have said. Basically, Thales has engineered a new eSIM activation solution for IoT devices, and notably IoT devices based on Thales Cinterion modules, now majority-owned by Telit; BICS is providing international cellular connectivity for it, via its roster of global carrier partners.

The idea, they said, is to bring the “simplicity of consumer eSIMs to the broader IoT” market. Enterprises, they noted, have struggled to adopt eSIMs for IoT devices, such as smart meters or smart appliances, because of the level of integration required with mobile operators. Thales called the innovation a “major turning point in the industry”. BICS said it will “finally allow eSIMs to deliver” in the IoT space.

They stated: “To solve this, [we] are removing the need for complex integrations with mobile network operators, allowing the eSIM to connect directly to an operator’s remote SIM provisioning platform. This approach is proven in the consumer electronics space and is now bringing ease of use to IoT implementation.”

The new Thales-designed mechanic, called eSIM Connectivity Activation, requires a single eSIM SKU, which connects to any BICS carrier partner. The result is simplified manufacturing, easier integration, reduced investment, and quicker deployments, they said. Locations with “uneven coverage” will “benefit greatly”. BICS will enable the provisioning of eSIMs inside Thales Cinterion modules, to sundry 2G-through-5G, plus cellular IoT services, via its  SIM for Things IoT connectivity plan.

A statement said: “These modules can then connect to mobile network operators anywhere in the world with the… [new] activation service. With a unique global coverage for any [cellular] IoT technology… BICS aims to make enterprises’ global IoT projects even more simple and reliable. Fostering easy, flexible global connectivity will help enterprises take that missing step to scale their international IoT projects towards success.”

Thierry Uguen, head of IoT product portfolio management at Thales, said: “This new IoT eSIM solution will be a major turning point in the industry. With our IoT Connectivity Activation service, we have drastically optimised the costs and efforts needed for the mobile industry to manage the SIM profiles on IoT devices. We are excited that BICS is joining us as a partner for Connectivity Activation. Together, we aim to pioneer an open ecosystem of eSIM for IoT, finally enabling enterprises to unlock the huge potential of eSIMs. BICS is the right connectivity partner to support our customers with international IoT deployments. They share our goal of unlocking the power of IoT for enterprises.”

Luc Vidal-Madjar, head of M2M and IoT at BICS, said: “Removing the obstacles for eSIM management with IoT devices will lead to far broader adoption of eSIMs in the industry and will finally allow eSIMs to deliver on their long-awaited promise of greater flexibility for IoT connectivity. Unlocking eSIM use in this way will be a critical step in supporting bigger and bolder global IoT deployments. For consumers and enterprises, this will ultimately bring massive IoT closer to becoming a reality. This in turn will mean large numbers of new smart products for end-users and promising new business opportunities such as for industry 4.0, smart metering, smart cities or connected alarm systems.”

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