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The internet of things (IoT) has transformed our world. A mere concept just a few years ago, it’s a reality now, with billions of smart devices interconnected all around the world, sharing and receiving data with each other. Let’s take a look at how all this interconnectivity shapes our homes, our businesses, and our lives.
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A multitude of connectivity technologies make the internet of things possible. These technologies provide the infrastructure and communication capabilities so that IoT devices can exchange data over the internet. Because they do, we can now remotely monitor and control the “things” in our lives.
The technologies that make this possible currently include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mesh network technologies like Zigbee. Additionally, cellular data connectivity with the help of IoT SIM cards remains one of the most popular connectivity technologies today.
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What Is an IoT SIM Card?
Most of us are familiar with the concept of SIM cards. Chances are, in fact, you have used SIM cards in your smartphones and other mobile devices. A SIM card allows a device such as a smartphone to send and receive information wirelessly, over a cellular data network.
Traditional SIM cards actually were first launched in 1991. Since then, they have enabled more than 7 billion smartphones and other devices to connect with cellular networks all around the world.
However, IoT connectivity between IoT devices demands more than the standard cellular connectivity features in our smartphones. This is where IoT SIM cards come in. Below are some unique needs of IoT connectivity that create the demand for IoT SIM cards.
1. Remote SIM Provisioning
Typical SIM cards in our smartphone are locked into a single network provider. If we want to switch between providers, such as when we’re traveling internationally, we must physically also switch to another SIM card.
The reason for this is that an internet of things SIM card is able to connect with multiple network carriers all around the world. This has important implications for global implementations of IoT devices. For example, it is essential for connecting IoT devices that are located in different countries.
This feature is also useful for mobile IoT devices, such as autonomous vehicles that operate across international borders.
IoT data plans offer global coverage in more than 100 countries. Meanwhile, some also allow users to remotely configure SIM cards to access specific networks. This gives users for more versatility with regard to network control.
Some IoT devices might need to be deployed in extreme environments. But IoT SIMs are extremely durable. For example, neither massive vibrations nor wide variances in temperature affect the hardiest of them. This is basically because IoT SIM cards are much more durable than standard SIM cards such as the ones in our smartphones. They can endure for as long as a decade under extreme conditions that include powerful vibrations and temperatures that range from -40 degrees to 105 degrees Celsius.
3. Remote Monitoring and Management of the Internet of Things
In an IoT deployment, users must be able to monitor and manage IoT SIMs remotely. Typically, the IoT data plan provider will provide dedicated management software that allows business users to remotely manage their IoT devices in bulk.
4. Data Aggregation on the Internet of Things
IoT SIMs typically have lower data requirements than traditional ones. However, different IoT devices in the network may consume different levels of data.
An IoT data plan that allows data aggregation is very important in such cases. This type of plan allows users to incur lower charges when some of their devices are overusing data while others are underusing data.
How Do SIM Cards Engage with the Internet of Things?
1. Casual IoT Hobbies
Cellular IoT connectivity by way of IoT SIM cards is one of the most accessible and cost-effective IoT connectivity solutions for hobbyists. Users can simply purchase an SIM card and use it in their devices. This instantly adds cellular connectivity to their IoT projects.
Apple with the Apple Watch and Samsung with its Galaxy Watch pioneered the use of eSIM for wearables. These are programmable SIM cards that are embedded directly into devices. In the near future, we can expect new wearable technologies to adopt the IoT SIM card. This will provide even more innovative features far beyond today’s typical health and sports applications.
3. Home Automation
Most smart home IoT devices rely on Wi-Fi and other short-range connectivity options like Bluetooth or Zigbee. However, there are smart home devices that can benefit from using IoT SIM cards to get cellular IoT connectivity. For example, alarm systems, outdoor smart cameras, and so on have more functionality when they’re connected to the internet of things.
4. Industrial IoT Deployment
Industrial sensors can be deployed in remote and environmentally harsh locations. These locations typically require the IoT SIM card’s durability and longevity, as well as its remote provisioning capabilities. IoT SIM cards can provide businesses the ability to monitor and control these devices in real time, even when two or more devices are separated by thousands of miles.
5. As Backup for Other Connectivity Options
In a smart home setting, Wi-Fi or even hardwire internet might be fast and reliable enough. But in cases of network failure due to poor infrastructures and/or natural disasters, cellular IoT connectivity can act as a reliable backup.
Why is this so? As we all know, cellular towers are virtually everywhere. Therefore, so cellular IoT connections offer more flexibility and reliability than traditional Wi-Fi connectivity.
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IoT SIM Cards and the Internet of Things Connect Our World
IoT SIM cards help to make cellular IoT connectivity possible. What’s more, they provide more durability and longevity than traditional SIM cards like the ones in our smartphones. Also, IoT SIM cards allow more unique features that cater to the unique needs of IoT deployments, like remote provisioning and dedicated device management solutions.