The deal betwen memory chip maker Micron and Indian IT giant Tata creates a virtual eSIM for secure cellular connectivity to even the most remote IoT devices, going beyond the limits of Wi-Fi and the complexities of local operator contracts and roaming fees.
The virtual SIM is based around Micron’s Authenta Key Management Service (KMS) that was launched last week to provide the industry’s first silicon-based security-as-a-service platform for edge devices. This handles device identity verification via a silicon root-of-trust using strong cryptographic identity and security features in the flash memory. This takes on European eSIM chip providers such as Infineon Technologies and STMicroelectronics following the roll out of the technology lasy year.
“The IoT ecosystem is at a tipping point. While there is untapped business opportunity, current hardware security methods are too complex and costly, or they limit scalability and flexibility,” said Kris Baxter, vice president and general manager of Micron’s Embedded Business Unit. “With Tata Communications’ cloud-based virtual SIM, Micron’s Authenta edge security will bridge this gap, fostering enterprise IoT adoption and open innovation in IoT services.”
Current methods for protecting connected devices have their limitations and typically add secure elements, which is costly and difficult to scale, or use secure key injection in the SoC, which creates a fragmented architecture.
“Securing a diverse set of IoT edge devices through the complete product lifecycle — from the supply chain to in-field management — requires a novel, simple, scalable and cost-effective approach,” said Amit Gattani, senior director of embedded segment marketing for the Embedded Business Unit.
Tata Communications’ MOVE Global IoT Solution provides zero-touch edge-to-cloud management of cellular-connected devices across 200 countries without fixed monthly contracts. The borderless cellular connectivity enabled by the virtual SIM will also allow enterprises to include 5G in IoT deployment strategies.
“The business landscape we’re experiencing today is uncharted territory, one that is forcing organizations to be agile and adopt zero-touch, digital-first technologies and applications,” said Tri Pham, Chief Strategy Officer at Tata Communications. “IoT solutions can help businesses become more efficient and productive, and can also bring in new opportunities and innovations, enabling them to scale new levels of growth.”
“Yet cybersecurity, seamless integration, and reliable, robust connectivity and global reach continue to remain key barriers to global enterprise adoption. By joining forces with Micron to reimagine edge connectivity and security, we will create a new paradigm that will rapidly accelerate and simplify IoT deployment,” he said.
Industry projections had forecasted 50 billion IoT device deployments by 2020, but the reality has fallen short with only around 9 billion IoT devices deployed. This is a result of the challenges with cellular-enabled connectivity and cybersecurity in managing physical SIM cards and fixed contracts per operator per country, says Tata. ABI Research predicts only 420 million cellular-connected IoT devices will roll out in 2021, just a fraction of total IoT deployments.
Rather than using a physical SIM card to verify mobile identity, Authenta KMS provides device identities for the virtual SIM in the cloud, enabling secure, zero-touch device registration and onboarding to IoT services.
The new eSIM provides IoT devices with secure borderless connectivity via a cellular network. This is aimed at the industrial, infrastructure, automotive, aviation, and transport and logistics sectors that need global connectivity for portable devices even in remote locations.
The cloud-based eSIM for IoT devices is slated to begin shipping in the first half of 2021.
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