Vodafone’s research and development engineers have developed a prototype recall system for home appliances that monitor the hardware for defects and shuts them down if a defect is detected. Product recalls are very common among home appliances, such as tumble dryers, which can pose a fire risk.
With the new prototype system, manufacturers will be able to let consumers know immediately and automatically if a product has been recalled. Appliances shipping with the alert system will include a Vodafone Safety Alert Message Indicator - an LED linked to a mini electronic device that’s connected to Vodafone’s IoT network.
If a product recall is issued, the indicator LED will switch from green to amber if consumers need to speak to manufacturers, or red if there is a fault which needs immediate action. In an emergency, manufacturers will also be able to remotely shut down the product to reduce the risk of harm to the product or the consumer.
Commenting on the development, Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Group, 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 recalls.”
Vodafone also pointed out that the device will make product recalls easier in cases where the original customer has re-sold an appliance. As it stands, a manufacturer may only have the original buyer's contact details making it difficult or impossible to contact the new owner.