IoT Connectivity Orchestration for eSIM

The majority of IoT devices should be operating without human interaction since involvement of technical support personnel increases the cost of service dramatically. Ideally the full lifecycle of the device connectivity is managed automatically, from connectivity service bootstrap to end of life. A significant value for the IoT ecosystem introduced by the GSMA eSIM standard is its ability to switch device connectivity in a digital-only process without any manual steps like the exchange of SIM cards.

The GSMA SGP.02 specification defines the subscription management service as an atomic operation changing the state of an eSIM or its CSP profile. This atomic operation is triggered by the CSP connected to SM-DP and/or SM-SR via the standard interfaces ES4 or ES2. It is, however, out of scope of the SGP.02 specification how the connectivity provider decides about the triggering of a subscription management operation and how the subscriptions are assigned to the devices.

The achelos Connectivity Orchestrator addresses this gap and enables the automated lifecycle management of the device connectivity. It stores information about every device and its registered SM-SR, as well as every profile and its managing SM-DP. But since no sensitive eSIM data is stored within the Orchestrator, the SAS-SM certification requirement for GSMA Subscription Management systems does not apply and the solution can be hosted in any environment preferred by the IoT Service Provider.

The lifecycle management operations are triggered by events sent by external entities like IoT Service Platform, CSP BSS or an application on the device in combination with business rules defined for each particular event. When executing a lifecycle management operation, the Connectivity Orchestrator triggers the responsible external Subscription Management services (SM-DP or SM-SR), depending on the type of operation. The standard ES2 and ES4 interfaces are used to request the operation and to handle the resulting notifications.

Though the Connectivity Orchestrator was initially designed to orchestrate multiple SGP.02 based services we see it as the key element that can be easily evolved to a solution compliant with the upcoming GSMA SGP.32 standard, also known as "Consumer for IoT". The "eSIM IoT Remote Manager" (eIM), the entity performing remote management of the eSIM in a device compliant with SGP.32, can be build as a functional extension of the achelos Connectivity Orchestrator. It will allow the parallel operation of SGP.02 and SGP.32 compliant devices, ensuring a smooth migration from one standard to another.

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