Giesecke+Devrient engineers customise security technologies with passion and precision in four major fields: payment, connectivity, identities and digital infrastructures. As such, they’ve been the trusted partner of the most demanding institutions since 1852 and have been part of the global SIM success story for the last 30 years. As pioneers in the field, G+D delivered the world’s first commercial SIM and the first eSIM management solution. Today, the company is a market leader in eSIM management and continues to offer connectivity and security solutions for the consumer, enterprise and industrial IoT.
“My task is to tailor G+D’s smart connectivity management solutions and offerings to the specific needs and use cases of the automotive industry players, car OEMs and their Tier-1 suppliers,” explains Ralf Schedel, who’s in charge of the market development of G+D’s automotive business.
Prior to this position, Schedel held several sales, product, and programme manager positions within G+D. One of these roles included a period at semiconductor manufacturing company Infineon Technologies, where he ran several innovation projects for leading OEMs in the field of information and communication security. A notable innovation project was the first integration of an embedded Secure Element in a smartphone back in 2012, followed by the showcase of an eSIM in a wearable device at MWC in 2016.
“What brought me to the automotive industry from semiconductors was the momentum that was triggered by the European eCall legislation, which made the automotive sector a forerunner and pioneer in the adoption of eSIM technology for its telematic units,” says Schedel.
“I crossed industries and brought G+D’s expertise in the emerging eSIM technology to car makers and Tier-1 suppliers, which meant I became more involved, pulled into automotive projects and the wider automotive world. To be a part of such a disruptive market is exciting from day to day, with Electrification, Digital Cockpit, and continuous SW-Updates to the Connected Car and Car-to-Cloud solutions all revolutionising the industry as we know it.”
New expectations for car manufacturers
Schedel knows that cars are no longer just about transporting people from A to B; they’re now an integral part of everyday life.
“Not that long ago, high-end in-car entertainment and technologies were seen as optional extras in high-end vehicles,” he says. “Today, drivers increasingly expect personalised digital experiences and flexible connectivity options as a must-have in every price category. Instant in-car connectivity is essentially the new horsepower and a new key selling point for attracting new customers.”
Car makers are also being faced more and more with local, country-specific regulations in the area of telecommunications, data privacy, and eCall.
“Such regulations and laws limit permanent roaming options and enforce local breakouts with in-country operational setups,” says Schedel. “Therefore, to comply with these regulations, they need eSIM management and connectivity management solutions that can integrate the respective local mobile network operators.”
To give their customers the experience of instant connectivity, G+D – in conjunction with its partner, BMW – developed a new technology, known as Dual-SIM Dual-Active, or DSDA. With this technology, vehicles are equipped with two eSIM modules that act independently of each other.
“One eSIM is used to enable the vehicle manufacturer’s telematics services and eCall,” says Schedel. “The second eSIM, called Personal eSIM, allows the driver to access infotainment and entertainment services. The telematics’ eSIM is linked to the mobile operator the car manufacturer brings in, and the personal eSIM is linked to the operator where the car driver holds their private mobile phone contract.”
G+D is working with its OEM and MNO partners to offer customers the opportunity to extend their data plans to the ‘car’ as another ‘device’ in the future – similar to existing Multi-SIM offerings for wearables and tablets.
“This way the data consumption for private infotainment services in the car is covered by the driver’s connectivity contract. Drivers can benefit from highly-connected, user-centric services and bring their digital ecosystem into their car, including their private mobile phone number.”
Providing vehicles with reliable and secure connectivity
DSDA enables cars to act as an extension of the driver’s smartphone, which, for example, allows them to seamlessly continue a call with the hands-free system. Listening to music is also instantaneous, and removes the need for clumsy Bluetooth connections to the vehicle’s infotainment system.
“In terms of safety, dual cellular links by network separation provides the assurance of a robust car-to-cloud connection,” said Schedel. “Regulatory requirements in a number of countries can be more easily met, where different telecommunication and data privacy laws apply for consumer-orientated ISP services versus M2M and telematics services.”
G+D’s DSDA solution and AirOn360® eSIM management platform is in operation with the BMW iX and BMW i4, and will also be available in other models in the future.
“Private digital services in the car can be utilised by passengers in tandem with car-to-cloud communication for BMW Group telematics services. Registration for the Personal eSIM service in the car can be achieved via the MNO or BMW app as an entry point. Once registered, the personal eSIM profile will be downloaded and can be instantly used. Family members can also load their eSIM profiles. Via the infotainment screen the driver can activate/deactivate the desired profile. To make this approach and service a new standard, we worked together with BMW at GSMA.”
In coming years, Schedel expects more and more vendors will offer a similar service. But for G+D, the next 12 months will involve working with partners on the rollout of further innovations, such as use of 5G private network environments during car manufacturing at the plant for testing and on-plant MNO profile provisioning.
“This way, car manufacturers can source a generic eSIM and define at the end of the production line which operator profile shall be loaded, dependent on the country the car is exported to,” says Schedel. “We will continue to grow our worldwide coverage of local, in-country setups to meet regulations and expand our connectivity management platform, enabling the rapid onboarding of new Car OEM customers and new MNO partners, ready-made for advanced 5G Car Connectivity services.”