Yuval Mayron is general manager for Internet of Things (IoT) at Amdocs and has worked extensively to create the company’s comprehensive eSIM offerings. He explains to George Malim how exploiting the full benefits and opportunities of eSIM necessitates a holistic approach that brings together the technical solution, with the device makers, network operators, customer experience and support.
George Malim: How important is it that organisations take a comprehensive approach to migrating to eSIM rather than a limited and gradual point solution approach?
Yuval Mayron: This is one of the key topics I see when I talk to communications service providers (CSPs) who approach the eSIM challenge. Some see it as a small, tactical challenge that they need to solve. These CSPs typically choose very basic solutions such as a QR-code to enable eSIM. Other CSPs have already understood by now that eSIM is not a threat but an opportunity, a technology that is here to stay and will eventually replace the plastic SIM.
eSIM’s holistic approach actually dictates a series of considerations that need to be reconciled. Organisations need to better define and the articulate eSIM jobs-to-be-done, required capabilities and derived value in order to achieve this.
Plastic SIM was a great technology for many years. It provided an intuitive experience together with a lot of freedom to the end customer to perform basic actions, such as swap and troubleshooting.
The transition to digital SIM requires a different approach with careful, special consideration given to the end user experience. Users expect a simple, unified, friendly and instant experience to perform every action they wish to take with the digital SIM. These factors are key to successful transition to eSIM.
Many CSPs today are going through digital transformation projects around both B2C and B2B segments. This is an opportunity for them to take eSIM as a much broader context. eSIM should be an integral part of these transformations. Every consideration in the customer journey and support must also include the eSIM. CSPs that adopted the tactical, gradual approach with basic capabilities, rather than a strategic, comprehensive approach, will end up with a spaghetti of solutions and experiences together with high risk and cost. eSIM also changes the business participants in the connectivity subscription process. While the plastic SIM was 100% controlled and managed by the CSPs, with eSIM, device manufacturers have a major role in the subscription process and overall experience.
Different devices already have very different interfaces. A Microsoft laptop is very different from a Samsung Phone or a Philips health device. Every onboarding of a new device needs to take few elements into account like device protocol, activation process and E2E experience. It doesn’t stop there. You also need to consider the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cloud for makers that provides the device and the cloud. More and more they effect the customer experience of eSIM. With Apple, for example, you need to notify Apple’s cloud to activate an eSIM. Of course other elements needs to be connected including eSIM database, the CSP’s network core and IT elements such as billing and the customer support centre.
GM: How eSIM is going to impact other CSPs lines of business (LOBs)?
YM: eSIM is not relevant only to the consumer market. Three additional business segments need careful examination. In the machine-to-machine (M2M) market, enterprises want to deploy devices on demand with the connectivity they need. In the enterprise sector, businesses want to roll-out devices to employees, enabling them to download SIM card to their devices, directly or using different mobile device management (MDM) technologies to integrate these. Finally, there is the need to manage many channels and stakeholders across the eSIM market. In all of these segments, CSPs need to be able to connect the entire ecosystem and orchestrate all the processes, providing excellent customer service and support. This is the challenge when we look at eSIM and it is a big challenge for CSPs to address, however the rewards for doing so will also be great.
GM: What are the differences between the basic experience and the integrated, unified eSIM experience?
YM: Experience is playing an important role in the adoption of every new technology, and eSIM is no different.
A basic experience like QR scanning is a good solution, but not a great one. It requires too many customer interactions steps, touchpoint, and limited process functionality – mainly activation – with minimum process visibility and troubleshooting capabilities. All this complexity is added to the inherent complexity caused by the variety of the different operating systems, applications and devices.
An approach for delivering a great experience usually follows some basic rules such as unified experience across touchpoints together with minimum interactions steps, real time visualisation of the situation and recommendations to users. Users also expect to have the flexibility to perform all activities by themselves and get proper support from the CSR once needed.
GM: What do you see as the next steps of innovation when it comes to eSIMs?
YM: Roaming will eventually be replaced by the more agile, local eSIM solution and we will see more OEMs selling connectivity. Laptop manufacturers might sell connectivity as part of their connected device solutions and there will be many other OEMs that will go in that path across automotive, industrial, consumer electronics and many other sectors.
The connection enabled by eSIM and its digital capabilities will enable OEMs to step up and be part of the ecosystem of enabling connected premium services. CSPs will benefit because we all know that cellular is by far the better technology for connecting devices than alternatives because it is almost everywhere managed, controlled and secure.
eSIM will become a vehicle to drive more and more adoption of connected devices and CSPs will benefit because there will be many more cellular connected devices as the market moves from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to cellular. The whole ecosystem will benefit.
I think there are three key facts that are already accepted now: First, eSIM is the right method and it will replace plastic SIMs eventually. Second, eSIM will drive further acceleration of cellular to be the preferred access method. And finally, there will be new business segments developed around eSIM that will drive new business opportunities. We can’t foresee all of these today but they definitely are coming.
Amdocs has assessed every aspect of eSIM, from every angle and built our solution for CSPs to be as simple and cost effective as it can be with a very low risk. We believe that, when you to move to 5G, it’s all about the customer experience – and I mean customer in the widest sense across the entire IoT. With the experience in mind, you can’t manage eSIM as a standalone topic that is isolated from the support and customer experience that exists today within CSPs.
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