Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Vodafone expands IoT range including wearable for kids

Steve Rogerson
July 26, 2018



Vodafone is expanding its IoT range with two digital building packages plus, in its V by Vodafone range, two wearables, including one for children, and a smart home kit.
 
All three V by Vodafone products have been designed to make smart living a reality for the average family, with ease of use and value for money being top priorities.
 
“Our aim is to help families create a smart home simply and without too much expense,” said Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK chief executive. “Many families would like a smart home, but worry that it would be too complicated or expensive. It doesn’t have to be that way. Our V by Vodafone products are designed to plug in simply and work via one easy to use app. Together with our new wearables, they will help busy families stay connected and give them peace of mind that their loved ones and home are safe.”
 
Around 14 per cent of consumers in the UK own wearables, such as smart watches, to track their health and fitness. By 2024, wearables are predicted to be the most widely used IoT application in the UK, with approximately 28 million connections.
 
At the same time, demand for connected home technologies is growing. Currently about a third of UK homes contain three or more connected devices, and that number is projected to reach an average of 8.7 connected devices by 2021. More and more families are turning to smart home systems, including motion sensors and security cameras, to protect their homes – ownership of such devices has doubled to eight per cent since 2016.
 
The V-Kids Watch is a smart watch designed for younger children. It has several safety features, including a built-in SOS button to call for help if required. Parents can exchange voice recordings with their children and use geographic coordinates to set safe zones, places where their children will typically be spending their time, such as their home and school. Parents can also check on their children’s whereabouts with GPS tracking and receive updates if required. Built-in child friendly games help to keep wearers entertained.
 
The V-SOS Band is a smart bracelet for vulnerable family members or those who have mobility issues. The band’s safety features include an SOS button that when pressed sends a notification to family members, along with a timestamp and geographic coordinates. A notification alert is also triggered if the wearer falls down, or if the remaining battery power falls below 15%. The band is waterproof and has a long-life rechargeable battery.
 
Finally, V-Home hosts a range of smart home devices and services to help householders keep their homes safe and secure, even when they’re not there. V-Home includes a security camera, a multi-sensor, indoor siren and the V-Home Hub, which connects all the devices through one app. Householders can also add devices such as water leak sensors and smoke sensors. As part of the service, customer care agents will contact the householder to ensure they are aware of any missed alerts.
 
IoT systems can transform buildings such as airports, offices and shopping centres into safer, greener spaces. The number of IoT connections in buildings is forecast to increase from 0.1 million in 2016 to 2.1 million in 2024.
 
The first of the two packages covers building surveillance. This lets businesses monitor multiple sites remotely with a platform that connects to the cloud. Vodafone Building Surveillance is said to be easy to install and works with the user’s existing CCTV equipment, making it cost effective to introduce digital technology across an entire estate.
 
It includes a smart analytics dashboard that sends alerts when certain incidents occur, such as if motion is detected in a specified area. All footage is watermarked and stored securely in the cloud.
 
The second package is for building energy management, and integrates critical energy and environmental systems – such as lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration and heating – into a single cloud platform that can be managed from anywhere, and on multiple devices. An dashboard compares business KPIs and real-time performance so users can optimise how systems are used to save energy, reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.

Vodafone has granted global certification to a U-Blox LTE Cat 1 module with 2G fallback. The single and multi-mode LTE Cat 1 Lara-R211 module features VoLTE and positioning capability.

Swiss company U-Blox is a provider of positioning and wireless communications technologies. The Lara-R211 offers data connectivity as well as VoLTE and circuit switched voice service over 2G (CSFB). It is suited to various mobile and stationary applications that require robust data connectivity and voice service, such as alarm panels, home automation and asset tracking.

The module also provides a 2G fallback, ensuring connectivity and seamless operation in cases where LTE coverage is not yet available.