IoT Fleet Management: Simplify SIM Updates
Time to read: 5 minutes
As IoT fleet operators scale their operations globally, the ability to seamlessly manage thousands of devices for their IoT use case becomes essential. To effectively perform their duties in handling day-to-day IoT-related operations, they require a simple and intuitive interface. This interface should allow them to perform a handful of tasks, ranging from device lifecycle management to usage report analysis, in an efficient manner.
A recent study by IoT analyst Transforma Insights confirms how more and more organizations express a clear preference for simplicity. The most sought after capabilities from IoT platforms are ease of configuration and bulk tasks:
This comes as no surprise to us. We have heard from customers that they turn to Twilio Console when managing their Super SIMs for cellular IoT connectivity, hoping to do so at scale with little-to-zero engineering work.
Fleet operators wish to configure their Super SIMs in bulk, activating thousands simultaneously and assigning them to a Fleet (a grouping of Super SIMs to define common settings), both prior to initial deployment and after they have been released to the end customer. Those with limited technical resources would particularly like to do so without having to work with APIs.
Once their devices have been in the wild for a period of time, fleet operators then wish to analyze their Super SIMs’ data consumption, slicing-and-dicing information across various dimensions and user-defined timescales. These insights would assist with identifying anomalies in production usage. They would also help drive business operations, such as checking in on how quickly data usage for a fleet of devices deployed in Denmark is growing.
We’re excited to announce two new features for Twilio IoT Console to enable these use cases: Bulk Actions and Usage Insights.
Imagine that you had recently placed an order for ten thousand Super SIMs. You received a notification that your order just shipped and your SIMs have been automatically registered to your Twilio account. Even before they arrive at your doorstep in a few days, you can now perform a few tasks to configure them for use:
- Create a Network Access Profile to choose your wireless networks
- Create a Fleet to configure SIMs as groups
- Assign each Super SIM to your Fleet and activate it
Prior to the launch of Bulk Actions, you had to assign each SIM to a Fleet individually. Imagine having to do that for ten thousand SIMs… that would have taken a lot of clicking around on Console! While our APIs let you automate this step, not everyone has ready access to developers.
Today, Bulk Actions offers a streamlined UI-driven alternative for updating a large number of SIMs to any configuration you desire. In our example, we are using it to assign your newly ordered Super SIMs to a Fleet and to set their status to Active. The process can be summarized in a few steps:
- Apply a single or combination of filters to narrow down a subset of SIMs you wish to configure. You might want to list the SIMs in a particular Fleet, or in this case, those that were shipped together in an order.
- Select the SIM Status and/or Fleet you want to assign to the selected SIMs. For this instance, since you just placed a recent order for Super SIMs, they are still in the New status. They will need to be switched to either Ready or Active and will need to be assigned to a Fleet.
- Confirm that you wish to proceed.
Your updates will be processed asynchronously in the background, allowing you to keep working in or leave Console. When all of them complete, we'll send you an email to let you know. You can also track the Bulk Action’s progress and download detailed error logs in Console.
For a more in-depth look on how to use Bulk Actions, refer to the documentation.
Now, imagine that your Super SIMs have been out on the field for a month. To get a sense of how they’re being used by your end customers, you navigate to Console to derive some insights. You might be wondering, “How much data have my Super SIMs used in the last 30 days?” An upward trend could mean that end customers have been using your devices more and more. Or perhaps, “Does data usage match my expectations?” An anomalous upward spike in data usage could be indicative of device misuse and a sudden drop could mean that several devices disconnected from the network.
Usage Insights provides a convenient way to view macro-level snapshots of your Super SIM usage in the form of graphs and tables. You can specify different ways to slice-and-dice your usage, including filtering by a customizable date range, by SIM, by Fleet, by Network, and by Country.
Because Twilio developed and runs its own Mobile Core, we can process and aggregate Super SIM data usage in near real time. Usage Insights greatly benefits from this as data usage records emitted by our mobile core are consumed and aggregated into your updated results within a few minutes, as opposed to hours or even days. You can confidently perform analysis knowing that the information you are seeing on Console is relevant and up-to-date. This integral piece to fleet management is one that many other IoT connectivity providers cannot support and, we believe, is a key differentiator for Twilio Super SIM.
Here’s an example – let’s say you’re expecting your fleet of devices to use 20 MB data per day. Do you notice anything strange with the bar graph in Console (see animation above)? In a glance, you can easily notice that there was an interesting spike in download/upload rate on December 30th. By clicking on the date hyperlink, you can drill down even further, displaying an hourly breakdown, helping you discover the exact hour in which the spike happened. To further pinpoint the specific event details that took place, you can view those listed during this timeframe with Super SIM Connection Events.
Throughout 2022, we plan to ship enhanced reporting and analytics capabilities to help you better manage your SIM fleets. For example, we are planning to further enhance Bulk Actions by giving customers more options to select and update multiple SIMs at once. We also plan to expand Usage Insights by offering even more ways to slice-and-dice usage data.
If you have any feedback you are open to sharing, please don’t hesitate to send an email to email@example.com. We’d love to hear about how we can further enhance your Super SIM experience.
Interested in Super SIM? Here are some resources to help you get started:
Miko Bautista has been a Product Manager on the IoT and Wireless team at Twilio for 2 years. In his past life, Miko worked as a Software Engineer on voice assistant and home automation technology. He is captivated by solutions to real-world problems that lie in the intersection of the physical and digital domains.
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