Built for IoT, Not Consumers: Understanding IoT SIMs and Data Plans
By Elad Aharoni
November 27, 2017
When it comes to your IoT-enabled devices, cellular-based deployments will typically connect to the network using a Subscriber Identity Module, or SIM. The SIM was initially developed for mobile phones and other consumer devices. However, IoT devices behave differently than smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, which means that the traditional SIMs and data plans that were developed for consumers are not effective or sustainable solutions for connecting your IoT deployments.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the challenges that consumer SIMs and data plans can present for organizations with IoT deployments. Then, we will discuss why your organization needs IoT SIMs and data plans that are built for IoT, not consumers.
Why Consumer SIMs and Data Plans Don’t Work for IoT Deployments
While both IoT and consumer devices use SIMs to connect to cellular networks, they each have different purposes and needs. A consumer will use their cellphone to interact with other people, while many IoT devices are interacting with other machines. Another major difference is that IoT devices are often deployed in larger fleets, which means that these deployments will have to be kept online and managed remotely by their service provider.
Due to the nature of IoT devices, your organization’s IoT deployments have specific challenges that cannot be addressed by consumer SIMs and data plans. With consumer devices, roaming outside of the consumer’s typical network coverage area is not common. However, IoT devices that can be deployed anywhere are always roaming, even those that are fixed in one place. That’s why IoT devices need broad network coverage, especially if the deployments are constantly moving across cellular coverage areas.
Another major challenge that organizations with IoT deployments need to be aware of is service availability and up-time. While consumers may not find data connectivity crucial to using their mobile device, data connectivity is a vital part of IoT device operations. These devices are often working without any intervention from humans, which means that if they do lose connectivity, they may not be able to re-establish the connection, resulting in a loss of data.
In the end, using traditional consumer SIMs and data plans for IoT deployments can result in lapses in your coverage, which can impact data transmission. While you can use multiple service providers to help improve your coverage, it often becomes too costly and complex to effectively manage your IoT deployments across multiple vendors. Using SIMs and data plans that were designed with IoT-enabled devices in mind helps reduce cost and complexity without sacrificing coverage or data transmission.
What to Look for in IoT SIMs and Data Plans
Now that you know why traditional consumer SIMs and data plans are not effective for IoT, let’s talk about what you should look for when choosing an IoT connectivity provider. First, you need to find SIMs that are suitable for IoT solutions. If your organization has global deployments, it’s vital that you work with a connectivity provider that has developed specific IoT SIM solutions for the markets that you operate in. In addition, if your deployments are in harsh surroundings, you will need to find industrial-grade SIM cards that can withstand tough environments such as those that experience fluctuating temperatures, constant movement, or a considerable amount of dust and dirt.
When it comes to data plans built for IoT, consider broadband connectivity for deployments that experience high data usage. You should work with a provider that offers flexible data plans to meet your organization’s specific needs. If you anticipate that your monthly data usage will vary each month, look for an IoT data plan that provides automatic allocation for the optimal rate and a pay-if-use data plan model that only charges you when the deployment uses data. These options will enable your organization to save money and minimize expensive overages so that there are no surprises when your monthly bill arrives.
In addition to IoT SIMs and data plans, your organization also needs a way to manage connections and analyze your data usage. Work with an IoT partner that provides analytic tools that allow you to monitor different services and trends over time. This enables your organization to make smarter decisions about your deployments and connectivity, allowing you to save money and improve efficiency.
How Telit Solves the IoT SIM and Data Plan Problem
Telit has helped solve your organization’s SIM and data plan challenges by offering IoT SIM cards and custom data plans that allow for roaming across different regions and networks around the world. Unlike SIMs and data plans that are built for consumer devices, our IoT connectivity services are designed with your IoT deployments in mind. In addition to IoT SIM cards, we provide a flexible and convenient data plan that offers one contract with simple terms, predictable pricing, and no hidden fees or extra roaming charges.
If you’re ready to see the difference that SIMs and data plans built for IoT can really make, order your