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#Connectivity & IoT #Annual Report

How Internet-enabled devices connect easily and securely to mobile networks

Annual Report
10 Mins.

How can a washing machine, a car, or an air cargo container be turned into a “living” machine that uses the Internet to connect, communicate, learn, and perform tasks for its owner? All over the world, billions of systems, sensors, and devices are online and according to Gartner, up to a million more will be added by 2023 – every hour, that is! The Internet of Things (IoT) is already the largest machine ever built. Not all devices are connected via mobile networks, but the number is increasing at a substantial rate as 5G coverage is expanded. Giesecke+Devrient provides the requisite connectivity and security.

Every year during the holidays, hundreds of thousands of people around the world unwrap a new smartphone and are eager to use it right away. “To make that possible, unique identifying information has to be assigned to each device so it can authenticate itself and connect to a network. With the latest phones on the market, users no longer need to buy a separate SIM card. If the phone has an embedded SIM (eSIM), activation is easy and can be done remotely when the phone is first switched on. The process takes just a few seconds,” explains Steffen Frenck, Head of Strategy & Marketing for Connectivity, G+D. Secure access to the network is then provided throughout the device’s service life. Small devices, such as smartphones, tablets, pet trackers, and fitness watches, form part of the consumer IoT market. For this segment, peak periods like the holidays are the acid test when it comes to generating and assigning access information for mobile networks around the world.

Giesecke+Devrient has been able to pass this test with flying colors ever since the invention of the eSIM. We are a world market leader for this service and for eSIM operating systems, providing 24/7 connectivity management for millions of devices in real-time throughout their entire lifecycle. Our eSIMs and eSIM operating systems have been adopted by leading device manufacturers (e.g. Apple, Google, and Samsung),while more than 200 mobile network operators (MNO) use our service to generate digital access information and transmit it to the devices for secure and efficient connectivity.

Japanese company NTT DOCOMO, for example, one of the world’s leading mobile network operators, relies on our platform and benefits from scalable services that allow it to support millions of customers simultaneously, even during peak periods. NTT DOCOMO attests to G+D’s exceptional performance.

“eSIM management plays a pivotal role in the onboarding of new customers and NTT DOCOMO considers this a business-essential process. The AirOn eSIM management service from G+D has demonstrated outstanding service maturity during the successful high-volume onboarding of new eSIM customers over the years. G+D’s long-term technical expertise and professional service understanding provide a solid foundation for the upcoming new eSIM primary and peripheral device launches.“
Seiji Abe
General Manager of Product Department, NTT DOCOMO

The IoT actually extends far beyond the consumer segment and is growing at breathtaking speed. Around 40 percent of the IoT devices being newly installed every day are now small to mid-sized commercial machines and devices (enterprise IoT) or large-scale industrial facilities (industrial IoT). The expansion of powerful 5G coverage will further accelerate this trend in the mobile communications field. Industry association GSMA estimates that by 2024, there will be 14 billion Internet-enabled devices worldwide that have mobile connectivity. “This technology is being increasingly deployed in the enterprise IoT market segment in particular, since it offers significant advantages in terms of flexibility and efficiency,” says Frenck. G+D is enabling customers in this segment to develop new and attractive business models. For example, Miele@home washing machines use an eSIM to communicate securely with the cloud, download software updates, adjust washing times to take advantage of cheaper energy tariffs, and reorder laundry detergent.

The automotive sector provides another example. Since 2018, it has been mandatory for new cars in almost all countries to be equipped with a mobile network-based, automatic emergency call function (eCall). An eSIM provides the secure connectivity needed for this system. Our eSIM management technology enables activation/downloading of the network operator subscription required in the vehicle’s destination country. It also allows the vehicle manufacturer to offer a wide range of other services. In addition to telematics services, BMW gives its customers the opportunity to transfer their private data plan to a second eSIM in the car, so they can stream from multimedia files, for example. G+D is likewise a technology leader with regard to this Dual SIM Dual Active solution.


In the enterprise IoT and industrial IoT field, G+D has key strengths alongside the high efficiency and reliability of its data centers. Special applications and algorithms can be stored and executed on the eSIM, e.g. for the purpose of encrypting data and transmitting it securely. This function could be indispensable for future applications, such as those around autonomous driving or autonomous machinery in an Industry 4.0 manufacturing facility. Encryption is carried out in accordance with established security standards and prevents data from being intercepted or tampered with by cyber criminals. Encrypted communication also significantly reduces the possibility of a cyber attack on the device. That means, “even if hackers manage to access the 5G campus network of a farming business, for instance, they can’t just take control of its systems and connected machinery,” says Frenck. Additional security can be provided via unique identification of a device and its associated cloud services, for example.

The 5G mobile infrastructure currently being rolled out can transmit huge quantities of data in real-time and is 10 to 20 times faster than the existing 4G network. This will allow campus networks to go mainstream. These closed proprietary networks are used by a range of organizations, including industrial enterprises, municipal authorities, hospitals, logistics providers, universities, and energy providers. Devices, machines, and systems can be connected to each other within these campus networks and are able to exchange data reliably at high speed, thanks partly to G+D’s security solutions. No external access is possible. In Germany alone, some 90 applications for network licenses have already been submitted.

Our multi-award-winning SIGNiT solution provides protection against manipulation of IoT device data. A SIM card signs each individual data packet immediately after it has been generated and links it to the preceding one using blockchain technology. This allows the integrity of the data to be reliably verified at any time thereafter. A system of this kind is of interest to electricity producers, for example, who base their end-of-year bill on data sent by smart meters via the Internet. Car insurers whose premiums are dependent on driving style or annual mileage also stand to benefit, with the relevant data being transmitted directly by sensors installed in the vehicle. Lufthansa Industry Solutions leverages our SIGNiT solution to help its customers detect in real-time when and how goods being transported in air cargo containers are damaged.

From smartphones and washing machines to aircraft and high-performance industrial plants, Giesecke+Devrient is making a crucial contribution to the efficiency and security of the mobile Internet of Things (IoT). Machines will soon even be able to pay each other digitally, with G+D providing the appropriate solutions for this and many other security-related applications in the IoT.

Published: 31/03/2021

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