BICS aims to connect the IoT globally with its "SIM for Things" solution

via Flickr ©  medithIT (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © medithIT (CC BY 2.0)

  • Can a roaming and signalling business take in IoT?
  • With a high performance network and embedded SIM expertise it thinks it can

Belgium-based international connectivity provider BICS (slogan: ‘the network behind the world’s top networks’), claims it’s about to push the disappointingly flat telco mobile IoT business (that is NB-IoT and LTE-M based services) into their next phase by teaming up with Avnet Silica to produce an embedded SIM solution for global connectivity underpinned by a high quality international network.

The conviction is that international IoT connectivity with the requisite low latency and security is the missing ingredient preventing this sort of international mobile IoT application (as opposed to the more static, very low-cost LPWAN types, such as LoRa) from really taking off. Only in China has NB-IoT got anywhere near the take-up once cheerfully mapped out for it. 

Will it work out? Who knows? But if you’re looking for an existing connectivity business most likely to be able to make the sideways jump into IoT connectivity, then BICS may be in a good place. 

The company styles itself as the ‘World’s leading Roaming and Signalling provider’, and has built a business providing those services to mobile operators, so sees itself positioned to take advantage of IoT as another string to its bow as it faces competition, especially in the voice businesses. It’s current numbers boast is that has an “unrivaled wholesale solution portfolio with 140+ access Points-of-Presence worldwide, capacities up to multiple 100 GB and participation in 25+ sea cables.” 

New connections

The challenge though, as so often in telecoms, comes with the scale being brought to the international market by the big cloud providers. That means data centre connectivity will build like a massive wave capable of swamping, or at least threatening, all the other global connectivity businesses in the long run. In the short run, however, organisations like BICS with its security focus and its ability to master commercial relationships in the telecoms business through its technical knowhow around things like security and signalling, may mean it can maintain a position by knowing the peculiarities of the telecoms business best.That appears to be the idea

The two companies’ collaboration will enable Avnet Silica to embed 2G, 3G, 4G, NB-IoT and LTE-M/Cat-M1 connectivity via BICS’ “SIM for Things IoT global solution,” claims BICS. That can help boost the rate of IoT deployment “by solving many technical, operational and commercial challenges, helping hardware manufacturers deploy new IoT solutions around the world.”

It says Avnet Silica’s customers can connect their IoT devices to more than 700 mobile operators globally, and easily switch networks depending on quality and coverage. 

Cyrille Saulet, Solution Sales Leader and eUICC program manager at Avnet Silica, commented: “Thanks to our work with BICS, we’re able to enhance our offering for OEMs and IoT partners, and ensure our customers can choose the best cellular connectivity requirements for their individual needs virtually anywhere in the world. The addition of LPWAN connectivity such as NB-IoT/LTE-M gives us a complete tool box to accelerate and expand IoT adoption, by being able to design smart and flexible connectivity solutions for our customers’ connected devices.”

And there are some good following winds. Gartner predicts that by the end of this year there will be 5.8 billion enterprise and automotive IoT endpoints, a 21% increase from 2019.

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