Every July, we hold our annual user conference in Tokyo, bringing together over 3,500 IoT developers, founders, executives and product owners for a full day of keynotes, technical sessions, and cutting-edge IoT use cases from around the world.
This is also the day that we reserve for major news about the business and significant product announcements. This year, for the first time, we moved the conference to a fully-digital experience. While we missed the opportunity to see so many of our customers and partners face to face, we didn’t miss the opportunity to announce the launch of a number of new platform services that aim to support the ever-expanding IoT ecosystem.
You can find detailed descriptions of each of those in the blog posts linked below. In every case, our development approach works backwards from customer input and requirements. As our customer base grows and as early deployments scale up toward millions of devices, there’s no better source to identify the real needs of IoT developers around the world, at every stage of development.
Here, I’ll aim to provide a high-level view of how this news fits with our overall platform and how these new services support the needs of both our customers and our larger IoT ecosystem.
The first announcement we made is a new feature we call Subscription Containers, which enables a single SIM card to support multiple subscribers.
As we support more and more customers around the world, we’ve begun to implement SIM profiles designed to support specific use cases. For example, our PlanX1 and PlanP1 subscriptions offer strong coverage for APAC markets.
Multiple subscriptions on a single SIM card is becoming a common implementation, but it often requires support from the device modem side. Our Subscription Container implementation brings Multi-IMSI capabilities to both eUICC and standard UICC Sim cards, enabling both old and new devices to receive and run multiple subscriptions via over-the-air updates. This is for us an important milestone as we’ve always aimed to support as many IoT use-cases as possible. You can find out more about our Subscription Container implementation in this blog post.
Together with our Subscription Container, we announced the expansion of our EventHandler<Kaz blog link> mechanism to also support Subscription Container. EventHandler has been a really interesting platform feature in that it allows a high degree of programmatic automation around SIM cards.
For example, you can let our platform watch out for when a SIM goes from Ready to Active state and program EventHandler to set an IMEI lock for the device and SIM combination that came online. Eventhandler now supports Subscription Containers, which will enable a number of use-cases to automate their process. This is especially important for devices that travel across countries and will need to change their active SIM profiles over time.
Virtual Private Gateway (VPG)
The next two announcements we made are platform services based around networking technologies, the first one is an update to our VPG implementation <link>. VPG is our software that delivers private networking connected directly to all of the SIM cards of our customers.
With this release, our engineers have now implemented VPG Type-E, which is built for controlling the traffic flow while routing to public internet connections, and VPG Type-F which focuses on private closed network connections. Both of these VPG types come with pricing optimizations over our other types of VPG.
Together with updates to our VPG service, we also release launched Soracom Peek as a public beta. This service lets you capture raw data packets on demand, directly from the data transmissions of your IoT devices. This is especially useful when troubleshooting IoT implementation but is also essential for analyzing data to ensure that high-security IoT use-cases are functioning as expected.
Last but not least, we released Soracom Orbit, a service that expands IoT Binary parser functionality. Soracom already supports binary parser both on traditional Cellular and LPWA connected devices. This is a functionality that is extremely useful when optimizing data transmission (data is encoded in binary on the device side, transmitted over the air and then decoded in the cloud as a JSON object) and standardizing device data transmissions regardless of their connectivity. What we found with binary parser though is that is it often limited to simple devices that have a predictable pattern (for example, just two sensors and battery reading).
A number of customers started to build out their own binary parser in the cloud as they wanted to do more with the device data. For example, the first byte can indicate which of a number of sensors are transmitting data and apply a different parsing logic depending on that byte.
Orbit addresses this challenge by letting customers build their own advanced parser within the Soracom platform. Another advantage is that Orbit is based on WebAssembly which in turn enables customers to program these advanced binary functions in the programming language of their choice all the while running as a fast, efficient and secure system.
We hope that you enjoy Soracom’s new features from this year’s Discovery event and look forward to getting your feedback on both our current implementation and on what you would like to see in the future.