Your Summer Holidays Are About to Get A Whole Lot Smarter

27917115994_96583a5bda_k

Vodafone is developing smart beachwear and luggage using IoT technology

Vacationing is something most of us look forward to all year, and chances are that you’ll be headed for the beach this summer for some much-needed R&R.

But holidays can be really stressful. Your luggage gets lost; the kids wander off; you forget the sun cream, and before you know it your skin turns a healthy shade of beetroot.*

That same tracking technology was also applied to suitcases, which could cut down on the annoyance experienced by nearly 30% of European holiday makers who reported having lost luggage issues during their travels.

27922402203_c7f6c2d8a3_k

It works by combining three separate tracking methods and low-power Bluetooth technology for near-range tracking, showing the user’s proximity to the child’s sun hat or suitcase using a ‘hotter’ or ‘colder’ graphical representations on the smartphone app.

But why is Vodafone designing bikinis and trunks all of a sudden, you may well ask?

It’s all part of a bigger trend towards connecting real objects with data. We’re soon going to be seeing a roll-out of low-cost, low-power ‘Narrowband IoT’ devices (think battery lives of 10+ years) which will radically transform and permeate every aspect of our lives. Recent research indicates that more than half of consumer technology companies intended to bring new IoT products and services to market within the next two years.

Those connected devices, in turn, will all plug into the mobile networks that telecoms giants such as Vodafone provide, so they’re keen to accelerate the process by demonstrating the mass market potential applications of this technology in everyday consumer devices. The company claims that its global IoT networks will be able to support more than one million such devices per square kilometer simultaneously.

“Companies in every industry are already embracing IoT technologies and see these as critical to their future,” says Vodafone Group Director of IoT Erik Brenneis. “The launch of new Narrow-band IoT networks next year will take this remarkable revolution to a whole new level.”

So maybe by next summer we will actually start seeing such designs in the shops. In the meantime though, watch those kids and remember to pack the factor 50. Happy summer!

27968170474_027b5e3fdb_k

* A Pan-European Vodafone and YouGov online survey found that almost half of Europeans (48%) forget to apply sunscreen, and 76% said they would be more likely to cover up they received an automated alert about it.


Originally published at Alice Bonasio.