Vodafone Group made its move to grab a slice of the potentially lucrative consumer IoT market with the launch of V by Vodafone – a series of products controlled through its smartphone app – in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

The platform is available to existing customers and was launched with four products, all shipped with Vodafone’s IoT V-Sim. Further devices are set to be launched in 2018, when the range will also be made available through its reseller channels.

In a statement, the company said its consumer IoT strategy would “build upon the company’s extensive track record in developing and implementing enterprise IoT technologies.”

Vodafone Group currently operates 59 million IoT connections across its markets and previously highlighted the technology as a major growth driver.

Citing a combination of analyst estimates and its own research, Vodafone predicted there will be around 370 million consumer electronics and smart home devices used across the company’s markets by 2020. It added the number was around 50 million today.

GSMA statistics prepared by Machina Research in September forecast the global operator revenue opportunity of IoT across connected homes, cars and consumer electronics at more than $1 trillion by 2026.

Cars, cats, cases and cameras
Devices available at launch are: V-Auto, a connected car dongle (pictured) which includes tracking technology, emergency service contact in the event of an accident, and driver assessment technology; V-Bag, a clip to track the whereabouts of lost or stolen luggage; V-Camera, a home HD camera fulfilling a number of purposes, primarily security; and V-Pet, a small tracker allowing cat and dog owners to monitor their pet’s movement and sleeping patterns.

The products work over a 3G or 4G network signal, and do not support WiFi. The devices are therefore reliant on ultra reliable cellular coverage.