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Vodafone launches new product which will take IoT into the mainstream

UK telecommunications colossus Vodafone is launching a consumer IoT product which will allow its customers to connect millions of home and leisure electronic products to the company's dedicated global IoT network, which is subsequently the largest in the world.

The new product introduced by Vodafone has been entitled 'V'. Vodafone representatives have described it as a simple system designed specifically for consumers to manage and connect IoT devices. The product range is vast and diverse and features a car dongle for the emergence of the 'connected car', a 4G security camera and a pet location, bag and activity tracker.

Vodafone's consumer Internet of Things strategy is expected to build upon the organization's stellar track record of in developing, implementing and delivering enterprise IoT technologies. Vodafone is the world's leader in mobile Internet of Things and has 59 million IoT connections. In addition to this, Vodafone boasts an impressive international network and services platform for a wide range of business critical applications.

Industry analysts have claimed that this launch will help propel IoT applications and products to a much wider audience and will increase the awareness of the benefits that connected devices can bring to the consumer. Vodafone Group Chief Executive, Vittorio Coloa suggested that IoT is already transforming the way many enterprises conduct their business, and predicted that over the next decade the emergence of IoT in consumer markets will represent a seismic change in people's lives.

He said, "The Internet of Things is already beginning to transform how businesses operate. Over the next decade, the expansion of IoT into consumer markets will bring about an equally dramatic shift in how people manage their daily lives, at home and in their leisure time. "V by Vodafone makes it simple to connect a wide range of IoT-enabled devices, helping customers keep everyone and everything that matters to them safe and secure. We look forward to applying our world-leading expertise in IoT to help consumers make the most of the next phase of the global digital revolution."

It has also been disclosed that the new V product already comprises and complements the dedicated IoT V-Sim by Vodafone which will be shipped as standard IoT enabled consumer electronics products sold by Vodafone, and will also be distributed by third-party retailers from next year.

It also features a smartphone app, providing customers with a single and intuitive overview of all IoT-enabled products registered to their account. Customers scan a QR code on the product packaging to register it and add the monthly fee to their existing Vodafone mobile account. Vodafone has focused on four product categories in their launch.

Other categories will follow in 2018, below is an in-depth look at the new IoT products that are being introduced by Vodafone.

V-Auto: Vodafone uses the same IoT technologies developed by Vodafone for some of the world's most advanced connected cars. The plug-and-drive dongle can be added to most vehicles on European roads manufactured since 2002. The V-Auto by Vodafone dongle is fitted to the car in seconds by the customer and is fully configured within minutes. Once connected, V-Auto by Vodafone adds the following capabilities to any compatible vehicle:

  • Auto SOS: The car owner will be contacted and offered support in the event of an accident in their home country. An automated call will be made to the emergency services if there is no response. The Auto SOS function provides the kind of eCall capability that will be a mandatory safety feature fitted in all new cars sold in the European Union from 2018, but does so simply and cheaply for millions of older vehicles that would not otherwise benefit from this life-saving technology;
  • Find My Car: Enables the car owner to track the whereabouts of their vehicle.
  • Safety Score: Provides driving performance statistics on every journey. This is ideal for helping younger or inexperienced drivers improve their road sense.

V-Camera:  Vodafone is a high-definition mobile security camera that automatically connects to Vodafone's IoT network. This enables customers to set up continuous remote video monitoring of any location where there is 3G or 4G coverage.

V-Pet: Vodafone is a location and activity tracker for dogs and cats. Owners can track their pets using a combination of GPS and the mobile network and get smartphone alerts if their pet strays from a designated area. They can also use the activity monitor to track their pet's movements and sleeping patterns.

V-Bag: Vodafone is an advanced briefcase, handbag and schoolbag tracker that helps customers reduce the risk of theft or loss. Customers can set up a smartphone alert to notify them if a bag leaves a designated area such as a playground or crowded bar.

The V by Vodafone concept and product range were developed with insights from comprehensive research involving more than 15,000 consumers in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.