Internet of thongs: Vodafone shows off IoT potential with smart swimwear

4 Aug 2016219 Shares

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Vodafone has debuted smart beachwear that is designed to prevent sunburn, detect UV rays and keep luggage safe

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The internet of things will take tech companies to places they’ve never been before and, in Vodafone’s case, it is smart beachwear that is designed to prevent sunburn, detect UV rays and keep luggage safe.

Vodafone has developed a ‘Smart Summer’ concept range, including bikini and men’s swim shorts that are equipped with UV sensors that track exposure to sunlight throughout the day.

A smartphone app notifies the user when they have had too much exposure to UV light.

The concept swimwear also contains a small vibrating alert built into the waistband and strap.

‘Companies in every industry are already embracing IoT technologies and see these as critical to their future. The launch of new narrowband IoT networks next year will take this remarkable revolution to a whole new level’
– ERIC BRENNEIS, VODAFONE IOT DIRECTOR

As part of the range, Vodafone has also created an internet of things child’s sun hat that also contains a UV sensor and a low-powered Vodafone SIM tracking device that also warns parents if the child has wandered beyond a set perimeter.

The designs also include a suitcase that includes embedded tracking technology to enable owners to find missing luggage via their smartphones.

The bikini, swim shorts, sun hat and suitcase contain embedded hardware with a battery life of around one week.

Consumers want wearables to be more functional

Internet of thongs: Vodafone ventures into the smart swimwear business

“The Vodafone ‘Smart Summer’ concept illustrates how the internet of things has the potential to reshape every aspect of our daily lives,” said Vodafone Group director of IoT Eric Brenneis.

“Companies in every industry are already embracing IoT technologies and see these as critical to their future. The launch of new narrowband IoT networks next year will take this remarkable revolution to a whole new level.”

Vodafone cited a YouGov survey in the UK that found a strong level of consumer interest in IoT wearable technology.

Of the 8,653 people surveyed across Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK

33pc said they wanted wearable technology of the future to analyse air quality; 50pc wanted IoT for blood pressure monitoring, 40pc for monitoring stress levels and 36pc wanted IoT tools for monitoring their hydration.

Vodafone predicts that by the end of 2017, a new generation of IoT devices will reach the market, adding even greater momentum to the connected devices revolution.

The hardware within narrowband IoT devices will be ultra low-power. Typical battery life of these devices will exceed 10 years on a single charge; they will be small, very cheap (typically costing no more than a few euro each) and will use very little wireless bandwidth.

Recent research found that Vodafone’s global IoT networks will be able to support more than 1m devices simultaneously per square kilometre.

Internet of thongs: Vodafone ventures into the smart swimwear business

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com