Innovation

Arm announces integrated SIM chips to lower IoT deployment costs

Arm's new iSIM technology integrates SIM cards with processors, reducing the cost, footprint, and power requirements for operating cellular IoT devices in remote locations.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Arm has announced its development of integrated SIM cards for cellular IoT devices. The new chips integrate SIM cards with microprocessor units and cellular radios into a single SOC.
  • iSIM chips could enable widespread IoT deployment in areas where it was cost-prohibitive before—Arm says the biggest advantage its iSIM chips have is low cost and remote maintenance features.

Chip manufacturer Arm has announced a new form of SIM card designed for enterprise IoT deployments.

Called integrated SIM (iSIM), the new virtual SIM card is integrated directly into a device's processor and is compliant with the newer GSMA embedded SIM (eSIM) technology that many IoT devices now use.

iSIM was designed by Arm to be a next step beyond eSIM, which still requires a separate chip. iSIM, on the other hand, is simply a part of the device's processor. Because it and other components are directly integrated into the chipset Arm says iSIM will reduce costs by a factor of three.

How iSIM could change the world

Arm's iSIM is part of a system on a chip (SOC) that includes a microprocessing unit and cellular radio. It runs on Arm's new Kigen OS, a software stack designed for IoT SIM applications. Arm's secure enclave, called CryptoIsland, is included in Kigen OS as well.

Kigen OS is designed for remote provisioning, giving it a clear role in Arm's vision of "a trillion connected devices by 2035." The company sees iSIM chipsets in cellular-connected devices as a way forward for expanding network ranges, connecting rural environments, building smart cities, and helping companies deploy small, connected devices to do a wide range of work.

isim.jpg

iSim's SOC makeup

Image: Arm

SEE: Research: Defenses, response plans, and greatest concerns about cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (Tech Pro Research)

Arm also touts the security features of iSIM, which it said conforms to the company's own platform security architecture (PSA) for IoT devices. Arm designed its PSA to be an industry standard for building secure IoT hardware and software.

There isn't much known about iSIM beyond those basic facts: It's designed to be cheaper, can be controlled remotely, and integrates all of a cellular IoT device's processing needs into a single SOC.

Attendees of the 2018 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will have an opportunity to learn more about Arm's iSIM, which will be on display and will be discussed in panel discussions as well.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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