#Connected Devices #Annual Report 2021

The Internet of Things – unleashing the giant

Annual Report
5 Mins.

Using a smartphone to communicate via the Internet is already completely normal for four and a half billion people around the world. But an increasing number of other devices, electrical appliances, machines, systems, cars, sensors, and even entire factories are also becoming digitally interconnected in the Internet of Things (IoT). This is largely made possible by the new 5G wireless network technology, which is rapidly being rolled out across the globe. Two things are actually needed for a secure, well-functioning IoT: reliable authentication – which is essentially each device’s admission ticket to the web – and an efficient, cost-effective network connection. Giesecke+Devrient provides both of these and has recently significantly expanded its offerings by acquiring UK-based firm Pod Group

Estimates suggest that some 17 billion devices are already connected to the Internet of Things. “It’s therefore vital that unique identifying information be assigned to each device. This information allows the device to authenticate itself and operate in the network,” explains Steffen Frenck, G+D’s Head of Strategy & Marketing for Connectivity. G+D is a market leader in solutions of this type: “Millions of Internet-enabled devices contain one of our eSIMs. This technology evolved from removable SIM cards, which were originally developed and brought to market by G+D. The trend now is towards using eSIMs, i.e. SIMs that are permanently soldered into devices. They effectively act as the device’s counterfeit-proof admission ticket to the Internet,” says Frenck. Leading manufacturers like Apple, Google and BMW and more than 250 mobile network operators (MNOs) use G+D’s eSIM products. In addition to eSIMs, the company’s portfolio includes a secure SIM operating system and a flexible, over-the-air eSIM management service. These products enable devices to be managed throughout their entire lifecycle – even if there is a change of owner, new services are added, or a device is connected to the Internet by a different network operator at some point.

“The trend now is towards using eSIMs, i.e. SIMs that are permanently soldered into devices. They effectively act as the device’s counterfeit-proof admission ticket to the Internet.“
Steffen Frenck
Head of Strategy & Marketing for Connectivity at G+D

An eSIM is essential for enabling many modern devices, appliances, machines, systems, cars, and sensors to connect to the Internet via cell phone networks. “The eSIM also acts in many ways as a kind of security service for the IoT. Is the person I am communicating with really who they say they are? Is the transmitted data genuine? It’s crucial to be able to answer yes to these questions if we want to manage cyber risks in the digital economy effectively,” stresses Frenck. Because almost everything is connected to everything else, the IoT is the largest machine ever built. “This opens up an incredible range of possibilities, which is precisely why it’s important to make the IoT not only scalable but also secure from the outset,” says Frenck. After all, companies and users want the rapidly growing numbers of devices and machines in the IoT to communicate reliably with each other – and to continue to do so. As powerful 5G mobile technology is rolled out more widely, it will also be possible for cars on the roads to communicate digitally with each other and with objects around them, such as traffic lights and charging stations. This will support management of vehicle flows and charging station capacity. Global corporations, meanwhile, are connecting their production facilities and suppliers via the IoT, thus ensuring more efficient workflows. Similarly, city authorities are using smart devices to make services such as waste disposal and street lighting more environmentally friendly.

The Internet of Things – the largest machine of all time

The Internet is not just used by humans every day for communication, shopping, and obtaining information; billions of machines, systems, sensors, and devices are also already online. And experts say that a quarter of a million connections are being added to this already global Internet of Things (IoT) in the year 2025 – every hour! Considering the totality of all these applications, the Internet of Things is the largest machine that will ever be built. The IoT is already ubiquitous. Every smartphone or smartwatch user can be a “member” of the biggest network in the world. There are still applications that you may not have heard of, though.

Secure identification – many connections

Reliable authentication and smooth interconnection of devices in the IoT are now available from G+D as a single-source provider. In 2021, G+D acquired Pod Group, a UK-based specialist in IoT connectivity solutions that was founded in 1999. “We are now not only able to offer our customers security when accessing the IoT but can also remove obstacles around implementing specific digital business models by providing device connections and device management,” says Frenck. Such obstacles can be formidable. Imagine a multinational company that wants to digitally connect thousands of devices, from office PCs through company cars to entire machines. Who is the lowest-price mobile network operator? Which provider operates in which country? How are charges billed? How can less expensive offers be identified? What privacy provisions apply in which country? Who takes care of the associated contracts? “Now that we’ve brought Pod on board, we can guide small and mid-sized companies through this maze if they don’t have the relevant expertise themselves,” says Frenck. “Up to now, concerns about complexity and a lack of knowledge have prevented many companies from realizing their IoT dreams. We’re now able to make those dreams a reality thanks to our integrated range of solutions.”

 

Pod has access to some 600 mobile network operators worldwide and can put together the best solutions for customers from a single source. Unlike most mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), who use networks belonging to other MNOs, Pod is a full MVNO with its own core network. This is crucial in order to provide customers with direct control over devices, costs, and data. Customers can manage their own activities via the Pod IoT Suite – a user-friendly platform with tools for monitoring costs, analyzing data, and identifying potential for efficiency gains. “This makes IoT activities transparent, measurable, and scalable – all of which are essential prerequisites for successful implementation of digital business models,” notes Frenck.

Private/campus networks gain in popularity

In many cases, it is vital for companies to set up their own private mobile network from the start. These campus networks are becoming increasingly popular: they cover a defined operating area and cannot be accessed from outside without the company’s permission. “It’s possible to provide a very high level of data security and guaranteed fast transmission rates because campus networks are independent, closed networks. As such, they don’t compete with anyone else for bandwidth and performance,” explains Frenck. Flexible machine lines, data centers, logistics robots, and other automated, remotely controlled components can thus communicate with each other swiftly and securely. External parties can also be granted controlled access to the campus network if required, e.g. if a machine manufacturer needs to carry out scheduled maintenance or if data needs to be shared with a client company.

“Enabling highly transparent, straightforward management of IoT devices, including between private and public networks, is one of our unique selling points.“
Steffen Frenck
Head of Strategy & Marketing for Connectivity at G+D

The market for campus networks is growing rapidly. More than 180 licenses have already been granted in Germany alone. The services provided by G+D and Pod complement each other perfectly in this arena: With SIM cards, eSIM solutions, and the AirOn360®® lifecycle management service operating out of highly reliable data centers, G+D provides authentication solutions that give IoT devices access to private networks. As the world’s first Enterprise Network Operator (ENO), Pod can provide customers with an extensive range of transparent solutions for managing and controlling IoT devices during network operation. “Enabling highly transparent, straightforward management of IoT devices, including between private and public networks, is one of our unique selling points,” says Frenck.

The potential of IoT connectivity is nowhere near exhausted. “The IoT can and must make an important contribution towards environmental and climate protection over the coming years. This could include analyzing and managing the carbon footprint of industrial activities, extending the service life of machines, optimizing vehicle flows through telematics, and making agricultural practices more environmentally friendly,” says Frenck. And once artificial intelligence becomes more widely integrated into the Internet of Things, the huge volumes of data involved will create an immensely valuable resource. “If we do this properly and don’t neglect vital aspects such as security, the IoT will increasingly analyze itself, learn, and become better and better,” says Frenck, looking to the future.

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