Please can you tell us a bit about IDEMIA and its role?
Whether we realise it or not, our identity underpins most of our everyday interactions. Every time we send a text message, surf the internet on our phone, pay online or in-store, take public transport, go to the doctor or travel, we use evidence of our identity to authenticate ourselves. As we continue to lead more connected lives, in the future we will use identity technology constantly for countless purposes. To get ready, we have to make sure that all involved parties are properly equipped to verify people’s identities as transparently, securely and reliably as possible, throughout their lives.
IDEMIA’s mission is to safely unlock the world based on state-of-the-art identity technologies, bridging our physical and digital lives. Its solutions are found in over 180 countries and are used by hundreds of governments and thousands of companies across dozens of industries. Using our technologies, customers can support their security requirements by supplying ID documents to check and analyse identities across multiple use cases.
IDEMIA’s Connectivity Services Business Unit provides telecom operators, the automotive industry and the IoT ecosystem with connectivity solutions that enable secure interactions. Our portfolio consists of SIM and eSIM technologies and digital platforms that enable seamless distribution of credentials, remote management of subscriptions, and the measurement of network quality and availability.
Why did you join TCA and what do you think is its most important role in today’s connectivity industry?
As a TCA (previously SIMalliance) founder member, IDEMIA has promoted and participated in its activities since day one. It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals and companies to promote interoperability and standards and advocate the latest innovations and trends.
In recent years, our membership and TCA’s role have become increasingly important. It’s an industry-wide belief that the pandemic highlighted the critical importance of secure, seamless connectivity. As a company, and as part of the M2M industry, we were obliged to adapt and accelerate existing technologies to support demands in the telco and IoT ecosystems to deliver new secure, trusted and interoperable connectivity needs.
What are the key issues facing players in the IoT space and are there any specific roles for specific organization types e.g. MNOs, manufacturers, vendors, standards bodies?
In this highly fragmented ecosystem, subscriber privacy, interoperability, power consumption, data and device security are some of the most pressing concerns for key players in the IoT industry.
Unfortunately, security is not always the top priority for IoT device manufacturers. As billions of IoT devices continue to collect, store, and send sensitive data, there is a growing need for better connection security and data protection. Initially, this applied only to a few OEMs (mostly handset companies) as they introduced mobile devices. Over the years, as the volume of IoT devices and use cases expands exponentially, there are thousands of new OEM players to consider.
Every actor in the IoT ecosystem must contribute to the development of new standards for improved security and interoperability.
To overcome that challenge, the GSMA recommends a market-endorsed solution called IoT SAFE (IoT SIM Applet for Secure End-2-End Communication). Rather than using proprietary device hardware, the purpose of IoT SAFE is to rely on the standardized SIM to enable interoperability and protect all data communications from being intercepted or altered. As 5G transforms connectivity and paves the way for new IoT opportunities, the SIM, more than ever, will play an essential role in addressing growing IoT privacy and security challenges.
What are the key industry trends and challenges right now?
As previously stated, IoT security at every level, from the device to the data it keeps and transfers to the network it connects to, is a major concern. We’re in the midst of a device boom, but some technology solutions still lack standardisation.
The industry needs to standardise and simplify to ensure interoperability and long-term solution viability. IDEMIA is presently a member of the GSMA’s WG7, which is working on simpler solutions such as the IoT profile for eSIM, for example.
In terms of trends, we’re seeing an increase in eSIM use cases, with the smart energy industry being one to watch, as well as integrated SIM and cloud services. The automobile industry is undergoing a significant transformation in terms of connectivity, as vehicles are increasingly becoming an extension of our digital life.
How do you think the industry is set to evolve in the future and why will industry collaboration be important?
It’s simple, working together for a more secure and interoperable IoT ecosystem.