Vodafone said its R&D team have built a prototype product recall system that allows manufacturers to notify consumers of recalled faulty or potentially dangerous electrical goods, and shut them down remotely if needed, including tumble dryers, washing machines, fridges and freezers.
The system in development will help boost Vodafone’s leading position in providing secure and reliable connectivity to an increasing number of smart home appliances. Vodafone is already working with household and commercial appliance manufacturers on mobile controls and network technology.
Using Vodafone’s Global Internet of Things (IoT) technology – the world’s largest platform with more than 100 million connections – Vodafone’s engineers are turning their attention to home safety.
They have developed a prototype system which uses a miniature electronic device module – similar in size to a SIM card – installed within the appliance to provide a link over Vodafone’s network.
This allows a manufacturer to notify consumers of a potential issue with their appliance and, if necessary, disable the appliance by using Vodafone’s network, reducing the risk of harm to the appliance, consumer or their home.
Companies can send a message via the Vodafone system to an LED on the product to notify consumers of the recall of their appliance. The Vodafone Safety Alert Message Indicator (SAMI) overcomes the issue of manufacturers not being able to contact the affected customers. The manufacturer can also keep an audit trail of messages delivered to their customers using this Vodafone service.
Vodafone Group Chief Technology Officer Johan Wibergh said: “Our technology is already allowing manufacturers to let consumers control home appliances when they are out and about. Now we have the potential to help manufacturers stay connected to their products in the field, enabling them to manage more effectively both servicing and safety recall.”