Vodafone wanders towards smart home space

Vodafone has announced a new partnership with Samsung which will see the telco offer a range of smart home products and services to the consumer.

V-Home by Vodafone, as the foray will now be known, will be launched in Spain and Germany in Q2 while other markets will be brought online over the rest of the year. The smart home sector is one which has promised riches, though these dreams have amounted to little thus far. With so many false starts in the consumer IoT space it is difficult to see this being a game changer for Vodafone, though it is ahead of mass market penetration trends. If the technology does ever catch on at least Vodafone won’t be playing catch-up.

“The Internet of Things is already transforming the world of work; now, it will transform the home,” said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao. “‘V-Home by Vodafone’ makes it easy for consumers to protect family and property and enhance home life with innovative technologies underpinned by the strength of the Vodafone network. We are pleased to work with Samsung to bring these benefits to our customers.”

“Samsung is committed to offering our consumers an easier, more convenient and smarter life through a growing range of devices and solutions,” said DJ Koh, Head of Samsung Electronics’ IT and Mobile Division. “By bringing together V-Home by Vodafone, the SmartThings open platform and our SmartThings app we are offering customers a simple-to-operate management system for a growing range of smart home products that will enrich their lives.”

As Samsung’s exclusive partner for the smart home in Europe, Vodafone will match its own IoT platform with the product suite. For the moment there are only a handful of products, though there are plans to expand this range. The products themselves have more of a security twist for the moment though Vodafone has said it will also have a virtual assistant.

We haven’t heard back regarding the specifics of the assistant, though if Samsung’s version Bixby is the ‘face’ of the brand we foresee some issues. Samsung has long been trying to play in the software and services game with Bixby being one of the ventures. Unfortunately, Bixby isn’t very good. Should Bixby be the virtual assistant we can’t imagine there will be many happy customers and Vodafone could be on the verge of a shocker.

We’ll head over to the Vodafone stand at MWC this week to have a bit of a dig around but we’re not too sure about this one.

UPDATE: Vodafone confirmed to that any product compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings hub will work with V-Home and customers will be free to install any virtual assistant they wish for the voice control capabilities. Good news for customers – they won’t be hindered by Bixby unless they choose to be!

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