Five ways Embedded SIMs can help save lives

[Original post on blog.gemalto.com]

The Embedded SIM is quickly becoming a key component of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT). Unlike regular SIMs, they are designed to be sturdier, able to withstand extremes of hot and cold—perfect for industrial use. Another crucial difference to the SIMs we put in our phones, is that once installed, their contents (operator credentials) can be securely altered over-the-air. This means, among other benefits, that a SIM won’t need to be changed if the user changes networks or the device is used in multiple countries.

Since the standard was approved in 2013, the market has grown quickly. The GSMA estimates that there will be 14 billion connected M2M devices by 2020, made up of 691 million healthcare devices, 1.1 billion automotive devices, and 6.4 billion smart city connections. The amount of data they will share over mobile networks means that handset traffic will only constitute 70% of the total, down from 92% at the moment.

The benefits for businesses will be significant. Not only will many industries see operational savings through improved processes, but they will now be able to bring more of their products and services online – or create entirely new services which were not possible before.

This could have a very real impact on the safety of workers in the field, but also for people in general around the world. There are many areas where M2M technology can make a difference and help to potentially save lives. Here’s our top five, and do let us know if you can think of any others:

Forest fire detection
M2M technology can be used to monitor combustion gases and potential fire conditions, which are then relayed to emergency services. We’ve already developed a prototype here, which shows real promise.

Earthquake, landslide and avalanche early warning
When a natural disaster strikes, every second counts. Ruggedized M2M solutions built with Embedded SIMs can transmit soil moisture, seismic vibrations and earth density readings. These readings can suggest dangerous patterns in land conditions in real-time, allowing authorities to aid rapid relief efforts.

Radiation and chemical leaks alerts
Accidents can have a catastrophic impact on the lives of workers in industrial plants. Our customers have been working in this field for a number of years with a range of devices specifically designed for assisting those in hazardous environments. Soon, M2M sensors will be able to safely alert authorities in the event of any leak. Thanks to connected devices with Embedded SIMs, workers in future may no longer have to manually monitor radiation or hazardous gases.

Pollution levels at sea and on shorelines
Connected M2M technology can be installed on oil rigs, cargo ships and waste pipes that lead into the sea to monitor pollution levels. With this information received, coastguards can better protect beachgoers and those that work at sea.

Emergency assistance for car crashes
The EU has mandated that all new cars from 2018 must by equipped with eCall technology. This means that if you have a crash, your car will automatically dial 112, the Europe-wide emergency number. Your car will then give emergency operators information relating to the incident, including GPS coordinates, the time of the incident and the vehicle identification number.

Examples like these show how much potential exists for the Embedded SIM in ruggedized IoT Applications. You can read more about them in our Gemalto Netsize Guide, a collection of articles on our connected world. Who knows, maybe somewhere down the line you might even be saved by one!

What is your opinion?