7 Benefits For IoT Device Makers Using In-Factory Profile Provisioning
Illustration: © IoT For All

In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP) is a mechanism for the secure loading of mobile network SIM profiles during the manufacturing and/or order fulfillment process based on characteristics such as the device capabilities or the geographic location into which it is expected to be deployed. In-factory profile provisioning has a variety of benefits.

The use of IFPP removes the need to manually fit plastic SIM cards into each device and offers an alternative to in-field provisioning which may not be appropriate for many forms of device. In recent months there has been an additional focus on IFPP as a GSM Association working group is developing a standard (SGP.41/42) as part of its eSIM/remote SIM provisioning standardization activities.

Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP) offers volume electronics manufacturers multiple mechanisms for improving profitability and competitiveness and making a better end product. The cost savings in production/fulfillment of IFPP’s reduction in loading time will have a notable impact on the cost of operations, with a flow-through impact on profitability and/or competitiveness.

Reduced power consumption from fewer eSIM-related in-field connectivity setups can determine if a product meets deployment requirements.

7 Key Benefits of In-Factory Profile Provisioning

One major section of the report identified 7 key benefits for electronics device manufacturers of making use of In-Factory Profile Provisioning.

#1: Inbound Logistics

Historically manufacturers needed to maintain an inventory of SIM cards, which may have a lead time stretching into months. The factory could not fulfill customer orders until it received the delivery of SIM cards, potentially causing delays.

In many cases, the manufacturer would have to pay for the SIM cards before they arrived in the factory. IFPP uses SIM profiles only at the point when they are required, and it can deploy them instantly.

#2: Manufacturing Process Time

Eliminating manual handling of plastic SIM cards in device fitting reduces labor costs and speeds up production in volume manufacturing.

#3: Manufacturing Flexibility

Changing parameters sent to the profile loader allows production lines to adapt automatically and instantly to different SIM profile requirements. Manufacturers may download a profile to generic stock upon order receipt, usually with the buyer’s firmware variant. IFPP gives the flexibility to use either approach.

#4: Outbound Logistics

The use of IFPP removes the need to support multiple SKUs, making distribution logistics more efficient. In North America, a manufacturer may have 2-3 profiles, while in Europe, it’s 26-30 due to one operator per country.

IFPP manages production runs, ensuring correct connectivity selection and meeting operator testing requirements within process time, simplifying the process. It is important to note that in-field provisioning delivers full flexibility, allowing for changes to the SIM profile after deployment. IFPP can be deployed in conjunction with in-field provisioning.

#5: Out-of-the-box Working

Pre-configured devices attach to the right network, eliminating the need for a bootstrap profile and localization, improving efficiency.

This improves customer service and reduces MNOs/MVNOs overhead by eliminating the need to support short-term bootstrap profiles on the Home Subscriber Server (HSS).

#6: Power Saving

The power-saving benefits are particularly important for many use cases, specifically, those devices that rely on lifetime battery power. SIM provisioning’s power needs, including data volume and authentication messages, can consume up to 15% of a battery’s capacity.

This can significantly impact the lifespan of devices optimized for ultra-efficiency in the frequency and volume of data delivery. This is particularly relevant for applications using Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT, which are typically high power optimized, for instance in smart gas and water metering (see below).

#7: Sustainability

The use of plastic SIM cards involves the production of quite large quantities of waste plastic. At the point of production card bodies are discarded in large numbers.

For a network change, the system swaps the SIM tied to the previous network with a new physical SIM card. There is no such waste with eSIM.

More About In-Factory Profile Provisioning

This free Transforma Insights Position Paper, sponsored by Kigen, explores the motivations for making use of IFPP to streamline supply chains for volume electronics manufacturers that are increasingly making use of cellular connectivity in their products.

It explores eSIM, remote SIM provisioning, including IFPP, and the GSMA standard for IFPP SGP41/42. The report explores IFPP benefits such as logistics simplification, power saving, and its value in IoT verticals—smart metering, automotive, fixed-wireless access, and consumer electronics.

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