Mobile operator Vodafone has entered the Internet of Things (IoT) consumer market with the launch of “V by Vodafone” enabling consumers to connect millions of home and leisure electronics products to the Group’s dedicated global IoT network – the largest of its kind in the world.
IoT technologies bring Internet-connected network intelligence to a wide range of devices at work, home and on the move. Analyst estimates suggest that by 2020 there will be more than 370 million consumer electronics and smart home devices capable of connection to mobile IoT networks in the countries in which Vodafone operates, up from around 50 million today.*
“V by Vodafone” is a new, simple system for consumers to connect and manage IoT devices and a product range that includes a connected car dongle, a 4G security camera, a pet location and activity tracker and a bag location tracker.
Vodafone’s consumer IoT strategy will build upon the company’s extensive track record in developing and implementing enterprise IoT technologies. The Group is the mobile world leader in IoT, with
59 million IoT connections and an international network and services platform for a wide range of business-critical applications.**
The new, simple way for consumers to connect IoT devices
“V by Vodafone” comprises:
- the dedicated IoT “V-Sim by Vodafone”. The Sim card will be shipped as standard with IoT-enabled consumer electronics products sold by Vodafone from today. “V-Sim by Vodafone” will be also offered by third-party retailers next year;
- the “V by Vodafone” smartphone app, providing customers with a single and intuitive overview of all IoT-enabled products registered to their account. Setting up each product is simple: customers scan a QR code on the product packaging to register it and add the monthly fee to their existing Vodafone mobile account;
- automatic straight-out-of-the-box connection to the international Vodafone IoT network in any of 32 countries***. Customers benefit from a straightforward means of managing all of their connected devices from a single interface wherever they are, and wherever they travel. Unlike Wi-Fi-enabled devices, “V by Vodafone” products are constantly connected wherever there is a mobile signal;
- a single, affordable fixed monthly price plan for each product connected with a “V-Sim by Vodafone”, making it easy for consumers to use multiple IoT-enabled products; and
- during 2018, Vodafone will launch a new online product marketplace open to IoT developers that will greatly extend the product choice for customers.
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.
Vodafone has focused on four product categories at launch. Other categories will follow in 2018.
The products will be available for purchase by current Vodafone mobile customers from today in selected Vodafone stores in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. They can also be purchased online at v.vodafone.com.
V-Auto by 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: enabling the car owner to track the whereabouts of their vehicle.
- Safety Score: providing driving performance statistics on every journey. This is ideal for helping younger or inexperienced drivers improve their road sense.
V-Camera by 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 by 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 by 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.
Vodafone Group Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao, 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.”