BMW Group has made significant investments in advanced communications, including autonomous driving and driver-assistance systems, and its latest step is to equip its connected cars with two eSIM cards using technology from Giesecke+Devrient (G+D).
The German car manufacturer will deploy the cards initially in its BMW iX and BMW i4 vehicles and then in other new BMW Group models in the future. One of the cards will see use for eCalls, navigation or traffic information services, while the other will be for a driver’s private information and entertainment services.
Private digital services in the vehicle can be used by passengers in parallel with car-to-cloud communication for the BMW Group telematics services. A second mobile connection is established for the personal eSIM, regardless of the network provider used by the car manufacturer to provide its services.
The driver thus has immediate access to all mobile services, such as video or music streaming. A further advantage is the wide functionality of the eSIM – multiple personal eSIM profiles can be stored, so the entire family can access their private digital services when using the car.
In most cases, connectivity is provided by the SIM modules that are already factory-installed in smart devices such as smartphones, smartwatches and smart home devices. Modern vehicles are also equipped with this technology. These so-called embedded SIMs (eSIMs) have been made mandatory in the European Union since March 2018 because of their automatic emergency call system, eCall.
G+D believes it is now taking this process a step further as the vehicles will be equipped with two independent eSIM modules. The technical base is the dual-sim dual-active (DSDA) system and AirOn360 eSIM management platform, which is now market-ready and is said to take a user-centric approach to connectivity.
The telematics eSIM is designed to ensure manufacturers’ digital services such as eCall, navigation or traffic information, while the personal eSIM is used for the information and entertainment applications of the driver and their passengers. The DSDA system and eSIM profile provisioning and management are handled by a single, unified solution – the AirOn360 eSIM management platform from G+D, which supports secure lifecycle management of eSIMs.
The platform is also compliant with all specifications for remote SIM provisioning set by the GSMA, the trade association of the global mobile industry. By using modern IP-based IT architecture standards and protocols, there is a fully owned eSIM provisioning guarantee.
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G+D is confident that its technology offers several benefits to both car manufacturers and buyers. Manufacturers can offer infotainment and telematics services to their customers via a central eSIM management platform, with separate accounts, tariffs and mobile connections. For buyers, it says DSDA brings private connectivity to the car.
G+D says this separation of networks also facilitates the path to meeting the different regulatory requirements in many countries. For example, this could be relevant when issuing telecommunications licences for consumer-oriented ISP services or for M2M and telematics services.
With DSDA, the common but costly Bluetooth pairing of the smartphone with the vehicle becomes redundant. This is necessary, for example, for the use of the hands-free system. There are several problems associated with Bluetooth pairing.
First, the manufacturer must ensure the Bluetooth compatibility of the vehicle with a variety of mobile devices and software versions. Second, with this approach, transmission and reception quality is compromised by vehicle shielding because the mobile device’s antennas are used. But with DSDA, the external vehicle antenna is used, which ensures high signal quality.
“Today’s drivers have different expectations of a car than in the past,” said Carsten Ahrens, CEO of G+D Mobile Security. “They rely on navigation systems with always up-to-date maps and traffic information, want to consume multimedia internet content, work and make phone calls in the car, or search for the next free charging station.
“This means that modern infotainment systems must allow flexible personalisation based on user profiles that also regulate access to the internet in the car. We are pleased that G+D has been the solution partner for the BMW Group in the area of eSIM for many years – and now also for the new Dual-SIM Dual-Active solution. Together, we are creating the basic requirement for a new kind of individually networked mobility.”