As a specialist in the IoT market, we’re often asked the question, “What is an M2M SIM card?” Although many people understand what IoT and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is, they don’t understand the necessity of M2M SIMs.
What Is M2M?
To understand the importance of an M2M SIM card we need to understand the concept of IoT and M2M. So, to put it simply, IoT is a network of everyday devices that are connected to the internet. The purpose of IoT is to make our processes more accurate and efficient.
M2M is driven by IoT and is the process in which two ‘things’ (connected devices) traverse data between them. This allows us to automate almost any process and eradicate the need for human interaction. M2M is being utilized across almost every industry in order to improve the accuracy and productivity of a business.
Why an M2M SIM (Rather Than a Standard SIM Card?)
In order to connect our machines to the Internet, we can’t always rely on a fixed Internet connection; in many circumstances, a cellular connection would be far more beneficial. That being said, a standard mobile SIM card doesn’t offer you the same critical features and functionalities that an M2M SIM does.
An M2M SIM card is primarily used for sending and receiving data; not for voice and texts (although some providers are able to attach SMS bundles to your solution). These SIMs are able to provide you with GPRS, 2G, 3G and also 4G connectivity, depending on your chosen tariff.
Machine to Machine SIM cards also allow you aggregate data across your SIM estate. This gives you the flexibility to share data across all of your connected devices. If one of your devices is overusing data and another is under-using, they’ll both take data from the same pot. Therefore you can rest knowing that overspending is far less likely.
M2M SIM Card Benefits
There are many different types of M2M SIMs on the market. Fortunately, they can be tailored to suit your specific connectivity and security requirements. The first question you need to ask yourself isn’t “What is an M2M SIM card?”; you should be asking, “What do I need to get out of my M2M solution?”
Remote Access to Devices
If your IoT application requires you to remotely access a device, you’ll require a SIM that’s equipped with a fixed IP address. This will allow you to securely access the data on your device. This is often used in the security and protection industry for remote and non-permanent CCTV cameras.
Multi-Network M2M SIMs
Another advantage of using a multi-network M2M SIM is that you aren’t fixed to one network. Multi-network SIMs give you the ability to roam networks on a steered or non-steered basis. A steered roaming SIM would always default to one primary network even if a better signal is available.
A non-steered SIM can be a much better solution as they don’t default to a single network; instead, they always connect to the strongest network available in that area. This network roaming capability means you’re far less likely to lose signal.
If you’re using M2M in remote areas or on the move, make sure you utilize a non-steered roaming solution.
Depending on your solution, your multi-network roaming SIMs will enable you to access any network in the locations you have specified to your provider. So if you have a UK roaming SIM, your SIMs will roam the UK networks; if you have a Chinese roaming SIM, your solution will roam the Chinese networks etc. InfiSIM can deliver roaming services across 172 countries through 294 networks worldwide.
M2M SIM Management
M2M SIM cards give you the ability to view the status of your SIM estate through a management platform. Depending on your solution there are a few different platforms available. These platforms allow you to monitor your data usage and SIM activity. Some portals allow you to activate and deactivate SIMs. Your provider can also set data caps and alerts to prevent you from overusing data and therefore overspending.
What Is an M2M eSIM?
Technology is advancing at an alarming rate and all aspects of our hardware are evolving. Embedded M2M SIMs, or eSIMs, are one of these developments. These SIM cards do the exact same job as a normal M2M SIM card, however, they’re permanently stored inside a device. The embedded M2M SIM is usually attached using solder but they can also be plugged in.
Embedded M2M SIMs (eSIMs) prevent people from tampering with the device or changing the device it sits in. This helps enhance the security and durability of the solution. These SIM cards are compatible with most devices.
Are M2M SIM Cards the Only Way to Connect my Devices?
SIM cards aren’t the only way to connect an M2M solution. Other solutions such as LPWAN (low powered wide area network) allow you to connect devices whilst maintaining low power consumption. However, in order to implement LPWAN in your IoT application, you’ll need specific or tailor-made hardware. This can be much more expensive than a SIM card.
M2M SIM cards are the most widely used connectivity solutions in the IoT market for a very good reason; they give you the flexibility to manage your own solution and put them in any device you require. They’re much cheaper and in most cases, a much more effective solution.
Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Standard SIM cards are the driving force behind the most widely used piece of technology, mobile phones. Although they’ve been around for a long time they’re still the best solution for keeping our mobile devices connected. It’s no different with M2M as SIMs will continue to reign supreme for years to come.