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Connecting electrical goods, a new opportunity for service providers

September 30, 2020 - Jonathan Plant

Jonathan Plant, Marketing Director, discusses the opportunity for service providers on communicating product recall notifications.

Electronic devices connected to the internet is nothing new. Some people tend to mock the need to have a kettle that’s connect to an app. Some people think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. The smart home will become a $135 billion industry worldwide by 2025 according to a recent study. Doorbells, TVs and even fridges have become popular connected items over recent years. How about connecting your dishwasher, tumble dryer or even vacuum cleaner. It doesn’t exactly scream out “yes I can’t wait to synch this to Alexa”. However, there has been an increased need for connecting electrical goods due to the overwhelming need for product recalls.

The household appliance segment is projected to reach $121,158m in 2020 according to statista. Around 3720 consumer product recalls were issued by almost 40 jurisdictions in 2018 say the OECD. The interesting question is, how many product recalls do you recall seeing in the last few months or even last year or even pay that much attention to them once they are seen.

Vodafone have recently unveiled a smart product recall system to counter act the challenge that electronic manufacturers with regards to communicating about a recalls. They have designed a device that is as small as a sim card that can be linked to the Vodafone network. Hopefully there generally won’t be a need for these to be used. But when the manufacturer has come across a fault that needs action, they can then alert the customer to get in touch to get a repair or a replacement product. Again this isn’t a new piece of technology but what it shows is that there are still many more opportunities for service providers to grow the number of connected devices on their network.

I would assume that the manufacturer will pay a small fee with each device to get this messaging service. This is a win win for both service providers and the manufacturer. The service provider gets a connected item which will use up little or no bandwidth. The manufacturer has more control of their devices out in the world which brings many benefits. They are less susceptible to law suits because of damaged property as a result of a faulty item or have to take out expensive ads in newspapers to make people aware of the product recall.

The other opportunity would be if the device could be connected to the actual workings of say a washing machine to feedback to the manufacturer about performance. Inform them about usage of water and  electricity as we are all trying to become a bit greener. Or even what the wear a tear is like on parts within the item, perhaps notify the customer that something is going to break soon rather than wait for the item to completely break which is a more difficult conversation.

This is another opportunity for service providers to grow revenue on their existing network infrastructure with little investment or maintenance. These types of deals are going to become more common across many types of industry as more and more manufactures or consumer or commercial goods want to have a level of control of their products.

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