V is for Vodafone ramps up consumer IoT strategy
By Nick Wood, Total Telecom,
Telco makes another bid to own the customer with range of connected devices, smartphone app.
Vodafone on Tuesday launched a fresh attempt to put itself front and centre of customers' lives, by rolling out a consumer IoT service complete with a slew of new connected devices.
"V by Vodafone" comprises a range of products that ship with a dedicated SIM, or "V-Sim" as Vodafone calls it, that connects to the operator's IoT network. The products are controllable using a smartphone app, and each one comes with what Vodafone describes as an affordable, fixed monthly price plan.
The initial range of devices includes a high definition home security camera, a pet tracker, and a bag location tracker. Perhaps the most interesting product though, is V-Auto, a car dongle that automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident. It also enables car owners to track the whereabouts of their vehicle, and score the driver's performance with a view to improving their road sense.
"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," said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, in a statement. "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."
V by Vodafone products are available to existing Vodafone mobile customers, and can be bought online and in select Vodafone stores in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.
"The system's key advantages over existing home hub devices are ease of implementation, a "mobile-friendly" lack of requirement for an Ethernet connection, which is still required by some home hubs and its international aspect, all of which should see it gain significant traction with many of its better-off customers," noted Edison Investment Research analyst Anna Bossong, in a research note.
"The launch also looks to put Vodafone ahead of EE, O2 and 3UK, which have all launched IoT services, but have thus far limited their sale to business customers," she added.
Bossong said customers are likely to accept the cost of V by Vodafone as part of their monthly subscription.
"The net impact should therefore be a boost to recurring data revenues as well as additional revenues from device sales," she said.