It feels like the result is going to be that literally every device you can purchase will have a always connected LTE lojack attached. Imagine trying to firewall or restrict the network in your business when literally everything has its own backbone, it'll be a complete nightmare.
Is it feasible to use physical RF shielding for devices?
I'm probably thinking of larger B2B though, individuals/SB probably won't have the expertise/influence
Would that be sufficient for an iPhone?
What sets them apart is that, although they are a US company, they think globally. This product is for a global market, just like their app-based push authentication is (the huge market being Europe which has mandated 2FA requirements for finance companies coming into effect). Too many companies build and think about the US as the only market, then try to bring it to other markets which doesn’t always work well.
Was this actually possible if you'd used the local carriers directly? There could be some regulatory reason, like differences between cell and landline numbering plans for billing.
But, if I were working for a haulage company and was interested in tracking, say, truck location, speed etc across the whole of Europe I could see this being a great way to do it.
Edit: And yeah it's a single SIM.
Totally missed what market you were going after.
If you wanted to do that in the EU you just need a sim card with data from any EU country. EU rules on roaming mean that your sim will work across the EU just as it does from its home country.
I agree this would be a great use case if you're not only tracking in the EU though.
Source: knowingly burnt £10 trying to find somewhere child friendly for lunch.
I can't get a polish SIM card and use it for an entire year in Germany, for example.
Calling you must be a bit of a pain. I just check and calling abroad from Lithuania is still 0.5 euro per minute...
A provider offering unlimited data in the UK can cap your data usage in Belgium or charge e.g. £8 / GB after you use 20GB of data.
A niche market in a massive pool could still result in hundreds of millions in sales. Imagine every Tesla that needs to communicate with a server, every RaspPi, heck even iPads or what have you. The potential is pretty huge for a tech like this one so hurray for a more expansive tech!!
WiFi I suppose, using a mapping from BSSID -> lat/long, like Mozilla Location Services or Combain.
What's the power consumption like from attempting to get a GPS lock? Luggage presumably spends most of it's life indoors. I imagine a WiFi scan uses less power than attempting to acquire a GPS signal.
I'm a hobbyist when it comes to hardware/IOT, I've been working on something similar but for RV's instead of luggage. Much harder constraints when it comes to luggage! RVs have power and room to spare.
Oh, you could put a small generator on the luggage wheels, to charge it a bit while wheeling the luggage around!
Sounds like a fun project.
One of the things holding back the development of truly mobile IoT is ease and ubiquity of connectivity. This tries to solve that.
Think of it as Amazon's Whispernet, but with far more penetration.
I'm using it in Canada and although data doesn't work (despite their claims) I'm paying one tenth the cost of a local bargain cell plan so I can SMS.
Having a device not tied to a certain provider could allow a shipping container to pass between different owners without needing a proprietary device/plan.
It's not the cheapest way to do that kind of system, but deployment is an order of magnitude easier. Unbox it and go.
First of, in the telecom market, there are two ways to get a discount: Buy more SIM cards, or buy more data. Let's say you offer a track-and-trace product, have deployed 1000 GPS trackers, you can easily get the monthly fees and the usage fees down to cents. Same goes for your 'GB-per-month' personal phone subscription, you buy more data, you get it cheaper.
But since roaming will always be costly, even for wholesale carries, SIM card subscriptions that can be used globally are almost always A. expensive, or B intended for IoT (low usage). (GPS, trackers, sensors, feedback buttons, etc). Twilio is focussing on the latter with this SIM.
That brings us to NB-IoT and LTE cat M.
LTE cat M(machine) is basically a stripped down LTE modem, while an NB-IoT modem (or LTE cat Narrowband) is a stripped down LTE cat M modem. Network parameters for these types of connectivity have been tweaked in favour of power consumption at the costs of low bandwidth and high latency. You could say that LTE-M is used for 'MB's per month'-devices (smartwatch for example) and NB-IoT is used for 'bytes per month' devices (is my container full already).
NB-IoT is cheap, extremely power efficient, but is not intended for moving devices.
LTE-M can be used for more demanding applications, like smartwatches, panic buttons (including voice) etc. It can also be used in roaming applications, but that's it. No streaming video etc.
So if you are looking to deploy a large scale IoT application, you want cheap, simple and energy-efficient hardware, which is why you need NB-IoT or LTE-M.
You could go for other technologies like Sigfox or LoRaWan, but they are inferior to NB and LTE-M if you ask me (roaming, availability of network/hardware).
In my view, Twilio does a great job of offering all kinds of telecom services (one stop shop), a common strategy in telecom called 'bundling'. But if you know what you want and where to look, you can get much better rates... Margins are great on this, I can assure you that :)
Hologram seems to offer an api with as much access as twilio's (data usage report, switching between "networks" (what package you buy, which includes certain countries and pricing...) and monthly payment of a fleet of chips. I'm failing to see the added value of twilio, but the more competency the better!
At my current job we use it for gps trackers and IoT devices attached to vehicles, so we don't use voice.
Just my $0.02 and I"m sure there's a better format that could be used, just not sure what that is exactly :)
Despite this, I can see this service being popular among companies who are willing to pay a bit more per GB to avoid negotiating with operators and getting SIM cards all over the world.
Recently I talked to a national (Portugal) operator who offers M2M SIM cards and their price for national only cards is 0,19€/MB, international one similar to this 0,27€/MB.
Twilio's price is pretty good compared to what they've got.
I don't want to host offsite code or write complicated functions just to CC: an SMS to my email inbox ...
A <email> twiml verb would be simple and useful.
But the easiest way to do this, by far, would be a simple email verb in Twiml. No dice so far…
Just pull VPN for programmable wireless from your site. It's clear that it won't launch within a year or two from being "announced".
Many betas are closed. That’s not unusual.
For voice calls, I use a SIP account from voip.ms, which mostly goes to voicemail (SIP kind of drains cellphone battery). I rarely use voice, and people usually text because calling, and most use Signal/Whatsapp anyway. The voip.ms account is also useful for doing SMS, and associating apps with it (such as Signal/WhatsApp).
Very little of Twilio is for "personal use" but you can still deploy it as such and there is another class of Twilio SIM product (programmable SIM) that you can do anything (voice, sms, etc.) you want with.
I have built my own little personal telco out of twilio and couldn't be happier ...
Well, except for an <email> verb in twiml - that would make me much happier ...
I have programmable SIM deployed in my iOS test phones and use it to place calls and texts from the phones (no contract is nice). I also pay about 12.5$/GB because I have the higher commit turned off
Each of the big 3 carriers (Rogers, Bell, Telus) also has a "budget" subsidiary brand (Fido, Virgin, Koodo), where the same plan is $50 or $60. However, customer service is absolutely terrible and they ding you for absolutely everything. For example, if you ever need to call customer service, there's a $35 service charge.
This is for Ontario; other provinces have local carriers (Sasktel, Videotron, etc.), but I'm sure pricing is pretty much the same.
Oh, and roaming in the US costs an extra $10 per day to use your regular plan, even if you only send a single SMS. Best not to use it at all or get a local SIM if you're going to be there for a while.
I really wish someone would nail this for consumer phones. I'm coming up on a year away from home in various countries and the constant sim swapping is beginning to get annoying.
I actually bought a dual sim phone so that I can keep my Australian sim card in for 2FA security sms messages (etc).
Before someone suggests it, Google Fi is US only, unless you want to arrange for a reshipper (and even then, I'm not sure if it works).
The past two years I've been a digital nomad living about 90% time outside the US and traveling to a lot of countries. Fi has not let me down in a single place! I keep maxing out data cuz of the $60 data cap for upto 15gb.
Wish I had a suggestion for a service like this for people based outside the US but looks like no one's trying to serve this market like Google is. I'm sure there's a lot of money to be made if a business just starts focusing on this segment.
Still, it's an option, particularly if you're not paying your own phone usage and need to maintain a consistent number.
The dream would be to have a single SIM which roams globally and to which you could attach multiple numbers from various countries.
Closest I’ve found is https://www.truphone.com/ but they seem not to offer individual plans.
Also, in a lot of places you need a local number to get things done. Like when making reservations at restaurants or you leave your number in the POS to have them text when a table is ready, etc.
As it is, I have a dual SIM Android phone as well as an iPhone and have 3 postpaid plans in different places. Massive pain.
Does anyone know of a data plan like that? I tried to use Twilio Wireless but they don’t have the fallback option.
It seems like if you're doing anything interesting that uses more than insignificant amounts of data (beyond e.g. reporting GPS coordinates) you're better off taking out a business contract with a mobile network and using the roaming allowances built in there. E.g. you can get 3x the 4GB data that was billed at $50 by taking out a £15 business SIM contract from Three which incidentally will give you up to 1TB in the UK.
Yes, and this is by design. LTE NB-IoT is very different from the regular broadband LTE people are used to. It's made for devices that send a (short) message once in a while. Really, it's best to think about it as for small message oriented applications --- no data stream.
To be low cost, a NB-IoT has only one receive antenna not two (or more) for regular LTE. Also, to reach into basements and harsh conditions, NB-IoT supports many repetitions. In theory up to x2048 times regular LTE, although most networks won't go that high. This means that the spectral efficiency of NB-IoT is much, much lower than for regular LTE. One byte over the air can cost a lot of resources, but it's ok because it's made for application with very little data to transmit: a meter level, a position... The data plans telcos sell for NB-IoT will forbid using a lot of data, it's just too inefficient. What NB-IoT needs to be is 1) low cost and 2) low power. For a meter sending one report per day, one can target a lifetime of 10+ years for example.
So although NB-IoT can use the regular LTE channels, it really is a completely different kind of animal. LTE-M is similar, but a bit bigger / higher throughput. Still for small IoT applications, but with more data than NB-IoT can accomodate.
If NB-IoT is a scooter, regular LTE is a truck. If you can fill the truck, it's more efficient. If you can't, because all you have to deliver is a pizza, then a scooter is best. Use the right tool for the job.
This is not for that kind of use case.
>Super SIM allows IoT devices to connect to multiple operators. Get instant global connectivity on a single SIM.
>Your device can travel around the world using one SIM...
Think of a ballon traveling over Eurasia and sending back data.
How big is the IMSI namespace? How quickly will Twilio put IMSIs back into a shared pool? Will they retain logs of IMSI-eSIM mapping?
Ok, I guess I can then easily sign up for this while back in Europe? Nope, every local website has no signs of english sign up form, many require ID card...
The hope is I can do it via my phone menu, but even then calling me is going to be a rip-off (0.5 euro per minute when people been video calling for free for over a decade...)
Maybe used as an OOB management plane interface for OTA updates, remote diagnostics etc? Perhaps used for some_other_use_cases in which second global interface would be useful?
Would there be isolation and security benefits to that type of second interface?
It sounds almost too good to be true.
Moreover, once OneWeb, Starlink and the like launch worldwide internet service, it might pretty much render the telecom industry as it is today irrelevant?
For phones, tracking, etc the cellular network would still be superior. Something like a car might go with both starlink and cellular because anywhere where one is weak the other is likely to be strong.
I'd think it'd work a bit like cable/DSL often does in an apartment company - one receiver for the building.
Twilio make business-facing APIs, is this supposed to be a consumer product? Why would I want API access to my own usage data? This feels like a far cry from their strategic strengths, except for that it’s phone-related.
That said I use a twilio SIM on my test phone and it is great. Was thinking of dual SIM with it but there's a few limitations I didn't want to live with.
It’s for people who deploy IoT devices.
I keep my T-Mobile SIM for when I fly into the US, I reload it for $30-60 and use it for a month. I'm rarely in the US.
I get back to Indonesia, I go to the local SIM store and buy 50GB of data for ~$13. With Twilio rates I'd be paying $1,250-5,000. Pass.