Embedded World 2024: themes for cellular IoT devices

It has been a couple of weeks since Embedded World in Nuremberg, where we acquired valuable knowledge from our customers and ecosystem partners on IoT device solutions.

Sustainability—specifically in reducing power consumption and improving power efficiency in embedded IoT devices- was a popular theme in the buzzing halls of the Nürnberg Messe. Other hot topics were the SGP. 32 IoT eSIM specification, the implementation of AI on the Edge within device ecosystems, and the increasing importance of security in embedded systems from design to deployment. 

Secure by design 

The consensus, driven by standard development and regulation, is that devices must be designed with embedded security mechanisms ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data exchanges and cellular network communication authentication. One solution for cellular device security is the embedded SIM (eSIM) specification developed by the GSMA and the IoT SAFE initiative to use the SIM as a hardware Root of Trust for chip-to-cloud security. 

More vendors see the advantages of eSIM technology for IoT devices, which enables cellular networks to provide a flexible and remotely manageable connectivity option –where operators have multiple facilities in different regions.  Reliable cellular connectivity is possible by switching operator profiles via remote SIM provisioning technology (RSP), which is the secure download of the operator‘s SIM application using the eSIM

SGP.32 specification enabling OEM scalability 

GSMA’s SGP .32 specification for eSIM remote provisioning of IoT devices enhances interoperability among network or user interface-constrained devices. Our ecosystem partners highlighted the importance of gaining clarity from the industry on the final standards of SGP31/32 and what that means in practical terms for an OEM and their product design and production stage.  

The eSIM IoT remote Manager (eIM ) can be configured in the factory just before devices are shipped with In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP), enabling the manufacturing of large batches of devices without the need to customize the network profile bindings in advance. This last point on loading operator profiles late in the production stage was highlighted by our partners, who recognize the benefits of Kigen’s IFPP solution, which streamlines the provisioning of the specific SIM within the device to be appropriate for countries where the product will be shipped. 

Kigen’s IFPP solution mitigates ordering profiles for each device with its eUICC profile, managing a larger SIM card inventory with more product SKUs, which is costly and complex.  

Device longevity 

The durability of electronic devices, such as smart water meters, asset trackers, and logistics, is crucial, especially when devices rely on battery power alone. Power wider area network technologies, such as NB-IoT, are options to consider as they are suited for low-data sensor applications that transmit data infrequently and preserve the battery.  

According to IoT Analytics, there are nearly 1.3 billion LPWAN connections globally by the end of 2023. 

Devices that need to transmit data more frequently using higher bandwidth applications can use LTE-M with power-saving features such as Power-Saving Mode (PSM) and Discontinuous Reception (DRX). These features can extend the device’s battery life to 10 years. 

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Artificial Intelligence and the embedded ecosystem

AI was everywhere at Embedded World as vendors build more intelligence into edge devices to avoid the cloud, which can have latency, connectivity and security issues. 

AI topped the list with IoT second in the top 3 investment priorities in the last 12 months, more than any other technology listed according to PWC’s recent survey. 

Integrating IoT, embedded and AI could be the perfect combination for innovative applications where data collection is complemented by AI’s Machine Learning abilities—asset tracking, where smart IoT modules and AI combine to deliver more efficient logistics routing and better manage deliveries, cyber threats and financial losses. 

As we reflect on the positive partner collaborations of Embedded World 2024, we are already getting ready for our next event.