By Luke Fitzpatrick
The embedded Subscriber Identity Module (eSIM) has evolved rapidly in the last five years. By 2025 It is forecasted to be installed on over 3.4 billion devices globally, up from 1.2 billion in 2021.
In contrast to a regular SIM, which users must insert manually into their device, the eSIM is automatically embedded into each device and can be controlled and updated remotely. This gives it several unique benefits that revolutionize how businesses and consumers think about wireless technology.
eSIMs have been a talking point for almost a decade, but consumers and businesses have only recently begun understanding the technology’s potential. Google was the first to use an eSIM in a mobile device, incorporating it into the Google Pixel 2 in 2017. Apple then popularised the eSIM concept by including it in their iPhone XS in 2018. Since then, the market has exploded – the eSIM is set to reach a value of $4bn by the end of 2023.
An eSIM’s versatility is its greatest strength. It can easily store several profiles at once and quickly switch between them. This comes with several exciting benefits. Frequent travelers can promptly switch to a local SIM to avoid paying expensive international roaming fees.
Businesses can optimize their technology and streamline critical processes within their Internet of Things (IoT) to make day-to-day operations more efficient. The creation of the eSIM has opened up a new world of technological possibility.
The internet of things
The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects with software that allows them to communicate with other ‘things.’ This concept can be found in many modern smart homes. Thermostats, fridges, lights, and speakers often contain sensors that allow them to detect changes and respond to voice commands. The most significant potential of eSIMs is to revolutionize this industry entirely.
The IoT has several challenges to overcome in the future, with scalability and security posing two of the biggest threats. Fortunately, eSIMs look set to overcome both of these challenges.
The benefits of eSIMs
The potential for eSIMs to completely revolutionize wireless tech is an exciting prospect. Let’s look at some core ways eSIMs could offer new opportunities to businesses and consumers.
1. Cellular phones
The eSIM has several valuable benefits for mobile phone users. One of the eSIM’s biggest draws is how easy they are to set up and use. Rather than waiting for a new SIM to arrive in the post, consumers can sign up for a new carrier, receive a QR code and set up their eSIM in minutes.
The eSIM also gives the consumer more freedom to choose the network of their choice. All phones with eSIMs are unlocked, meaning users can switch carriers as often as possible. This should drive competitiveness and lead to a more user-centered mobile phone industry.
The eSIM has the potential to completely revolutionize the production industry by offering new ways for manufacturers to complete large-scale IoT projects.
eSIMs are smaller, more secure, easily updated, and less susceptible to human error. This allows companies to expand their operations without fear of losing control of their daily procedures. As time progresses, eSIMs should give production companies the confidence to tackle more extensive operations and increase their economies of scale.
With an eSIM, a business shipping globally can monitor and track a package in live time as it moves across the globe. Under normal circumstances, workers must replace a physical SIM in each new destination unless a business wants to incur roaming charges. With the eSIM, this is a non-issue, as the eSIM can be quickly updated to reflect a package’s new location.
This means lower costs to connect with local carriers, more package security, and cheaper international shipping costs.
The automotive industry has embraced eSIM technology with open arms. The number of connected cars on the road is expected to rise from 84 million in 2021 to over 305 million by 2035.
eSIMs will play a significant role in simplifying connected cars for businesses. Manufacturers can fit each new car with the same eSIM model regardless of the car’s destination. The vehicle can be tracked live and must only be programmed once it reaches its target country.
Consumers also benefit from eSIM technology in vehicles. Optimized 5G support and a more secure connection allow drivers to make uninterrupted calls and receive live traffic updates. Furthermore, if a customer takes their car to a different country or sells their vehicle to someone else, companies can instantly reprogram the eSIM to account for these changes.
5. Security systems
With the home security industry growing alarmingly, businesses frequently incorporate eSIMs into alarms, sensors, and control systems.
Using the IoT, eSIMs can securely link sensors to a centralized independent connection that can’t be tampered with. This connection can then seamlessly connect to a monitoring service, allowing the service to update the security system and remotely provision each sensor in the house.
Looking beyond eSIM technology
This technology is not only making it easier for users to manage their mobile connectivity. Still, it is also opening up new possibilities for IoT devices and connected devices previously limited by traditional SIM cards. eSIM technology is expected to become even more widely adopted as 5G networks roll out globally, providing users with faster and more reliable connectivity.
With the growth of IoT, eSIM technology is expected to play a critical role in enabling seamless and secure connections for a wide range of devices, from smart homes and wearable devices to vehicles and industrial equipment. The future of eSIM cards looks bright and will continue to play a critical role in shaping the wireless technology landscape in the coming years.
- We may see businesses push the eSIMs functionalities even further, innovating exciting new products that entirely use the eSIM’s secure, integrated connectivity.
- Smart devices will be more connected than ever before with eSIM connectivity solutions. As costs reduce for businesses using eSIM for large-scale IoT projects, we may see quality technology become cheaper worldwide.
Despite constant developments, the eSIM still has much more to offer. Only time will tell how far the technology can evolve and what exciting benefits it could have stored for us in the future.
About the author
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program.