Since the origin of Mobile phones, the only thing that has not developed much in mobile phones is the SIM card i.e. Subscriber Identity Module Card. It is a device which contains user identity, network authorization data, personal security keys, contact lists and text messages. Functionality of the SIM card:
• Identification of a User: The International Mobile Subscriber Identity programmed on the SIM card, is the identity of a user, which is linked to a mobile number.
• Authentication of a User: A unique response is provided by each user based on International Mobile Subscriber Identity. By matching this response with network a legal user is logged on to the network and he or she can now use the services of the mobile service provider.
• Applications: Provides basic information on demand for m-commerce, chatting, cell broadcast, phonebook backup, location based services etc.
• Storage: To store phone numbers and SMS.
The first SIM cards were the size of credit cards, then the telecom companies reduced the size several times over the years.
SIM Card History
However, they have not made any significant efforts to avoid it, which is resulting in increased size as well as weight of mobile phones. And it can be clearly seen that, the size of integrated circuit in SIM card is still the same even after 25 years of its discovery.
Environmental Impacts because of product use and end of life phases were evaluated as follows:
Previously, the SIM cards were made from Polyvinyl Chloride, but after awareness of the environmental impacts they were made using Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Polyethylene Terephthalate. Besides Polyvinyl Chloride, Polyethylene Terephthalate and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, a semiconductor is required in the SIM card which acts as integrated circuit and does all the functions.
SIM Card Life Cycle
There are 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions in the world, hence there are 7 billion SIM Cards in the world. Each SIM card come with a Credit card sized adapter packed in a plastic-coated paper for better aesthetics, so it means trash worth 7 billion cards and its packaging. Weight of a SIM is approximately 5 grams, that means 35,000 tonnes worth of material. And the weight of packaging material is four times that of SIM card. That causes big impact on environment. Behind use of those 7 billion SIM cards, there are hidden processes such as manufacturing, packaging, transportation, distribution and then consumption which consumes energy and generates carbon footprints. And even end of life of product i.e. recycling consumes energy, that is why we need to rethink about 3 R's. i.e. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Materials like Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Polyethylene Terephthalate lose their properties after recycling multiple times and virgin materials are expensive and limited in supply, so we need to think about reuse. But, we cannot reuse the same SIM card again since it contains personal data of previous user. Hence the only option remaining is reduce. But since the SIM card is most essential thing in mobile phone we need to find an alternative solution.
PROPOSED PRODUCT SERVICE SYSTEM
The alternative to the actual SIM card is Virtual SIM. It functions the way actual SIM does. One can purchase it online or directly from network service provider shop. Register yourself with your documents and fingerprints for getting the IT credentials. Then recharge your account, log in from any phone and you are ready to use it.
The reason why SIM card hasn't been replaced yet might be because of security issues. Hence, I have tried to resolve those issues. The Virtual SIM uses technology of Internet login, where, login is protected by 128-bit encryption code. Hence, the safety of personal details is assured. The Virtual SIM stores personal security data on cloud space. And user can store not only his or her contacts but also messages on cloud space that is provided with each SIM card. Additional internet security, antivirus and spyware protection is also provided. With normal SIM card one receives One Time Password for login to banking or social networking sites. With virtual SIM, you can use fingerprint scanner in your phone for confirmation along with One Time Password for extra security. Hence, the security issue is troubleshooted.
The virtual SIM after login will generate unique response and mobile network provider will recognise the user, subsequently user will get connected to network and then user can make calls or send texts. The network receiver and transmitter will still be there in mobile phone. Just SIM card slot, reader and processor will be removed. Hence, there will be more availability of space which can be utilised for increasing battery size resulting enhanced battery back-up or for reducing the mobile size.
Advantages of Virtual SIM:
• Can be used in any mobile phone without the tedious process of SIM removal
• Multiple SIM logins can be done in a single phone at the same time
• No manufacturing, transportation, distribution, consumption and hence recycling is not required, hence more sustainable system
• Safe and secure to use
As there is no pre-determined product commitment involved but there is an agreement upon the outcome of the product service system, it falls under the ‘Result Oriented category'. The network provider and the customers have agreed upon the network service, but how that should be delivered is up to the provider. This is a ‘Functional Result' product Service system because the result is what matters to the customer not the medium of delivery. The provider can make any changes in SIM card or technology, unless it affects the way customer makes phone calls, uses internet and does texting efficiently and securely.
Environmental Impact of Product Service Systems
Functional result has the highest potential for sustainable impact reduction in all product service systems. At a high level of abstraction, a result is promised and the provider can decide the necessary approach to deliver the result. The provider can therefore try to do so in the most cost effective way, which bears the promise of a search for radical innovations.
The factors that need to be accounted for socio-economical impacts are as follows:
• Market Value
It includes product cost, operation cost, maintainance cost and disposal cost. The dematerialization potential of new technologies is shifting the production of value from hardware to software. Hence the product is virtual. Which is why, there is no manufacturing cost, maintainance cost as well as disposal cost. But there will be some operation cost which depends upon the customer's usage that's common in both SIM technologies.
Since the technology is unique, it will be patented. This will result in the company branding. And developed countries consume more resources and produce more pollution so, Virtual SIM can be an attractive way to make the transition towards a sustainable future. As the product offers the hasslefree interchangeability and compatibility with any phone, customers won't mind paying a little bit extra.
• Cost of Implementation
It includes product marketing and purchasing satelite bandwidth which is same with normal SIM card. Whereas, this Virtual SIM saves a lot of enegry and money which normal SIM card requires for manufacturing, packing, distribution, and recyclying.
Additional Transitional Investment:
Additional investment is required for research and development of the our product. Also there is a hugh investment required for mobiles phone manufacturers for making the required changes in mobile phone. But they will be more than happy to do it since it will eventually save them a lot of money for manufacturing SIM card reading system. Whereas, for normal SIM mobile phone manufacturers don't need to change their product.
• Capturing Values
Strategic Position in the Value Network:
Technological know-how is what will discriminate the Virtual SIM card from Actual SIM card. On top of that, Top-notch management will guide the company to achieve the most feasible outcome and stay technologically advanced in the future of the company. While normal SIM card manufactrers will still be thinking about reducing the size.
Access to Service and Contribution to Client Loyalty:
Loyal and well-trained workforce will help company to develop healthy relationships with the customer. They will also help the customers to get used to the new product and troubleshoot their product as early as possible.
Barriers to adopting Product-Service Systems
The main barrier to adopting PSS in developed countries is the cultural shift necessary for the user to value ‘having a need or want met in a sustainable way' as opposed to ‘owning a product'. This cultural leap can be made, but is not straightforward for a consumer or intermediary retailer (as client) to understand. In a developing country, the main barrier may be the availability of advanced technological information and knowledge, to produce a socially and economically viable PSS.
Businesses face barriers in the design, development and delivery of PSS, in implementing the changes required in corporate culture and organisation, to support a more systemic innovation and service-oriented business. In this regard, it has been observed that some companies in mature industries see it as an opportunity to survive, whilst others see it as a way of gaining entry to a new sector.
A further obstacle for business is the difficulty of quantifying the savings arising from PSS in economic and environmental terms, in order to market the innovation to stakeholders both inside and outside the company, or to the company's strategic partners. Other barriers faced by business include lack of knowledge and experience in terms of: • service design methods and tools • new tools, which companies can use to assess and implement PSS • service management systems • entrepreneurial personnel who are skilled in service development and provision, and life-cycle costing methods. Furthermore, businesses may perceive the risks of: • conflict with existing internal procedures and tools, e.g. accounting and reporting methods • service being easily replicated by a competitor (more easily than a physical product) • partnerships and entrepreneurial interdependence leading to reduced control of core competencies and reducing the influence of business decisions.
Finally, barriers to be overcome may include a lack of external infrastructure and technologies, e.g. for product collection, remanufacturing or recycling.
ICT Facts & Figures 2015-Telecommunication Development Bureau & International Telecommunication Union
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