Innovating with Vodafone

Our mission is to bring the future forward, by bringing the outside in. We are developing win-win partnerships with leading innovators.

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Security & Identity

As a trusted provider, Vodafone is committed to protect our customers’ cyber security, privacy and identity. We believe in a connected world with frictionless user experience, whilst ensuring the highest levels of integrity.

If you can further help us to enhance our security and constantly improve the protection we provide our customers, we want to hear from you.

Artificial Intelligence

We are living in a world with intelligent machines which can understand and assist us better. Depending this technology, and understanding what it could mean for both our business operations and our customer is something we’re passionate about exploring.

We’re already implementing chatbots for customer care and driving lots of exciting new initiatives, what else can you help us do?

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Blurring the lines between virtual and reality may sound out of this world, but it’s not all sci-fi. There are already some very real and practical applications and we think there’s enormous potential for more.

Let us know what AR/VR means to you, and the opportunity that it presents for our customers.


Internet of Things

Previously, only people could talk to one another. Now, more and more of the objects around can talk to each other too. The Internet of Things opens up endless new opportunities and ways  to live, work, and play in a connected world. 

Get in touch and tell us how you would partner with Vodafone to shape the future of IoT.

Know-How

Benefit from Vodafone’s over 30 years of experience, and see how our industry experts can contribute to your business success.

Customers

With more than 400 million customers, Vodafone opens core distribution channels and offers go-to-market support.

Technology

Our Innovation Labs offer a modern environment to develop products for the mass market and integrate with our existing services.

Network

With an extensive network of strategic partnerships across the innovation ecosystem, we offer real opportunities to leverage scale.

Contact us

 

Has your digital start-up reached at least the seed, start-up or growth phase, with a minimum viable product? Are you seeking a win-win partnership?

Please contact innovation@vodafone.com

 

All other enquiries

 

Do you run an accelerator or innovation hub? Are you interested in working with the Innovation team?

If so, we’d love to hear from you: innovation@vodafone.com

 

Innovation stories

The Moon will get 4G coverage next year, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on its surface. Vodafone plans to create the first 4G network on the Moon to support a mission by PTScientists in 2019 and has appointed Nokia as its technology partner.   

Berlin-based company, PTScientists is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to achieve the first privately-funded Moon landing. Mission to the Moon is due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Vodafone’s network expertise will be used to set up the Moon’s first 4G network, connecting two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA). Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs, will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network that will be the lightest ever developed - weighing less than one kilo, the same as a bag of sugar.

The 4G network will enable the Audi lunar quattro rovers to communicate and transfer scientific data and HD video while they carefully approach and study NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle that was used by the last astronauts to walk on the Moon (Commander Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt) to explore the Taurus-Littrow valley in December 1972.

Vodafone testing indicates that the base station should be able to broadcast 4G using the 1800 MHz frequency band and send back the first ever live HD video feed of the Moon’s surface, which will be broadcast to a global audience via a deep space link that interconnects with the PTScientists server in the Mission Control Centre in Berlin.

A 4G network is highly energy efficient compared to analogue radio and that will be crucial to Mission to the Moon and is the first step to building communications infrastructure for future missions.

Vodafone Germany CEO, Dr Hannes Ametsreiter, commented: “This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure. It is also a great example of an independent, multi-skilled team achieving an objective of immense significance through their courage, pioneering spirit and inventiveness.”

Vodafone has opened a 5G Mobility Lab at the Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany which will be one of the first places in Europe to test out the actual usage of 5G.  At Aldenhoven we will be testing C-V2X, a technology that will be a key transport safety feature as part of a future  Intelligent Transport System that connects vehicles, roadside infrastructure and pedestrians.

Vodafone is also a Board member of the 5G Automotive Association and our Group Research & Development team is working with the automotive industry to support the creation of ‘5G cars' incorporating C-V2X combined with low latency, high bandwidth network communications.

Together, 4G, C-V2X and 5G will enable increasing degrees of automated and assisted driving, enabling a transformation in how vehicles are used and shared.

There are also opportunities in future for operators to develop new car products, such as mixed reality projections on windscreens, augmented with data from the surrounding environment. This could, for instance, integrate with smart city infrastructure to show the location of the nearest electric car charging point, compare prices and help dynamically to manage demand on the energy grid.

Increasingly, our customers want to be connected at all times. Yet, as every smartphone user knows, despite the widespread coverage provided by mobile networks, there are still places that don’t get signal, for example deep indoors or within some lifts.

Vodafone was the first operator in the world to launch NB-IoT, a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network technology which provides an opportunity to resolve this issue. 

LPWA is a network layer designed to transmit limited amounts of data. It offers increased coverage in remote, rural areas and underground through the adoption of techniques that enhance radio signal propagation compared to GSM.

CAT-M, another LPWA technology, could in future be used to provide better voice coverage as well.  

We can add LPWA technologies that use licenced radio spectrum deep in the protocol stack and enable chat apps to adapt their software to use them. Doing so could complement other network technologies and enable chat apps to continue working, even when it is not possible to use voice and internet data. 

Poor or non-existent cellular coverage is life-threatening in emergency situations.

Better coverage is possible if one removes natural obstacles to the signal, such as buildings, trees, hills and mountains.

Vodafone Group’s New Technologies and Innovation team has been experimenting in the hills of northern Andalucía with mobile relays mounted on a drone.

The relays are based on a specially adapted CrowdCell, because using that technology we do not need to modify the cellular radio network to extend the cellular coverage. Using the Elistair tethering system to supply power, the drone was able to hover in position at up to 80 metres above ground level for periods of over a day.

In some areas, our ‘Flying CrowdCell’ delivered 4G coverage of up to 3 Megabits per second where before there was none. It can also connect local users without the need to route the call through the main macro network and is able to offer video streaming for surveillance purposes.

The effectiveness of drones for supporting mobile connectivity will always depend on the local terrain, but we intend to develop it further for use by the emergency services in remote locations.

The Vodafone Foundation’s DreamLab app is aiding cancer research.

The DreamLab app was first launched in Australia to help the Garvan Institute for Medical Research to harness the collective processing power of smartphones while they’re charging (usually at night, while the user is asleep).

Research being undertaken by the Garvan Institute into the causes of cancer requires huge amounts of data processing power. The app has enabled researchers to process data twice as fast.

The Vodafone Foundation’s longer-term vision is to extend the potential for DreamLab by promoting it in various Vodafone markets in order to grow a large international base of ‘dreamers’ providing significant computing power, so that researchers all over the globe undertaking cancer research can take advantage of this resource.

The analysis of ‘big data’ (large-scale, anonymised data sets) is profoundly changing the world. Aside from applications within our own company, Vodafone’s data scientists are also working on projects analysing how big data can be used to provide decision support to tackle problems of societal importance.

We recently worked with King’s College London to predict the wellbeing of individuals in the UK based upon where they live and work. The project maintained the highest privacy and security standards in line with our global privacy policy.

We used data from the Office for National Statistics, which surveys wellbeing through four measures: life satisfaction; sense of worth; happiness; and anxiety level. We also used Foursquare data and large, anonymised mobile usage data sets.

Our machine learning-based predictive models indicated that people with the highest wellbeing are likely to live near pubs and those with the lowest wellbeing near offices and fried chicken restaurants.  

A better understanding of wellbeing can assist people as they make life choices. Imran Kahn, the student from King’s College London who initiated the research project, has now joined Vodafone as a data scientist and in the future, we would like to expand this study to analyse human behavioural factors that play a role on wellbeing.

Massively multiplayer online games are a rapidly growing industry, increasingly involving both professional players and serious amateurs wanting premium performance from their gaming rigs.

The amount of latency experienced by gamers is a major source of irritation as they spend more time playing, and often also needing to communicate in real time with other players, over the internet.

Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay between my home and the server and has a direct impact on the time it takes from other players taking an action and that action appearing on my screen.

The main contributor of latency is the distance that the command needs to travel from the home network to the gaming company’s servers, which can be in another country.

To evolve our networks to enable gamers to get lower levels of latency, we are planning to use Multi-access Edge Computing to host applications virtually and therefore closer to customers.

We are currently exploring pilots to host servers for gaming companies on our networks. This could provide a premium gaming experience for Vodafone customers.

These planned trials will help Vodafone be ready for a future where customers are expected to play far more virtual reality and augmented reality games over fixed and mobile networks.

Marcos Muñiz García is 46 years old and lives in a small village called Mieres in the heart of Spain’s coal mining country. He suffers from Cerebral Palsy and in the past struggled to use any mobile devices.  Now he is able to do so thanks to the EVA Facial Mouse created by the Vodafone Spain Foundation and CREA Software System.

EVA Facial Mouse is a free app which allows the user to control an Android device by tracking the movements of their head (you can download it here).

It provides an alternative method for accessing a mobile device for those, like Marcos, who cannot use a touchscreen. Marcos has severe speech impairments, so he mainly uses EVA to communicate. He is not alone though in finding the app useful. It has already had over 1.7 million downloads and rated 4.4 out of 5 on the Google Play store with more than 11,000 evaluations.

EVA Facial Mouse has also found a surprise secondary audience in India where many people used it to control their smartphones while applying henna tattoos to their hands!   

Back in Spain, Marcos is looking forward to further development of the app which will enable him to play some games in the Google Play store for the first time.

Engineers from Vodafone’s Network Centre of Excellence have been experimenting with how different sensors can interact with smartwatches over a mobile network. Working with the SUB2 project, which aims to help an athlete one day run a marathon in under two hours, we developed a smartwatch app that can be a better pacemaker for elite runners, using GPS location data that is up to 10 times more accurate.

The Vodafone SUB2 app was used by elite athlete Kenenisa Bekele during the Berlin Marathon. The extremely precise real time pace data as well as cumulative distance and finish line prediction was key for his strategy during the race.

We are now testing how to add additional information like core temperature (by connecting to a body sensor pill ingested by the athlete), skin temperature (skin sensor), heart rate (from a pulse measurement) and running economy (based on measuring stride).

The SUB2 project aims to leave a lasting legacy for athletics by showing how technology can help improve performance. This work will also enable Vodafone to better support wearable manufacturers and connected health projects in future.

The Vodafone Foundation in Malta is working with The Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking at the University of Malta to develop an online interactive IT platform and mobile app which will facilitate cutting edge research that explores genetic causes and potential treatments for diseases such as diabetes, asthma, thalassemia, and ALS.

The Malta biobank was set up to create high quality tools for gene research. Those tools would be redundant without a vibrant, active, collaborative pool of research participants donating samples of blood and tissue.

The online portal will enhance the biobank’s relationship with research participants, by hosting informative videos and letting them decide how their samples are used. This will create genuine informed consent, bringing the biobank into line with the latest EU data protection regulations.

Up to 20,000 people in Malta alone could benefit from the work undertaken by the biobank, while the model, if successful, could inform genetic research across the globe.   

Vodafone Power Lab is a Portuguese programme, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship by promoting the creation of technological and digital projects. It provides incubation, including: mentoring from Vodafone employees, workshops, training, access to investors and Go-to-Market support. All of which transform ideas into start-ups and helps them to become established in their respective markets through partnerships.

Latest examples of start-ups who are now integrated in the Vodafone product portfolios include:

Cook4Me is an application that provides its users with recipes designed by chefs, nutritionists and home cooks, as well as the ability to order food using technological interfaces. Their service will be integrated soon in the Vodafone IPTV platform.

Rio Mondego is a low cost, IoT solution which monitors the water level of rivers in order to predict and alert for floods. They are exploring commercial opportunities in partnership with Vodafone Enterprise.

Studo is a parental control service developed for Vodafone Set Top Box, which encourages young students to do homework before having access to their favourite TV channels.

Inviita is a mobile app guide for locals and travellers to explore cities based on real time feelings. Having won BIG Smart Cities and after an incubation period, they launched their app with supported access to Vodafone’s customer base. This included SMS & Push Campaigns, Website presence, Social Media Posts and Press releases.

Vodafone Automotive - Piaggio Wi-Bike

Beyond the Connected Car, Vodafone supports urban mobility and provides connected solutions for eBikes. We provide the latest telematics and electronics components to keep the Wi-bike connected to its owner, 24-hours a day and to deliver unique digital functionalities. Among trip tracking, bike diagnostics and a battery range estimate, theft management is one of the innovation’s key features; if the bike is stolen, the system sends a real time notification to the owner’s smartphone.

“We knew the power of the Vodafone Automotive telematics and IoT network. Vodafone already provides service for the manufacturer’s Porsche Car Connect. By utilising its existing network and service and giving these a new application with the ‘Share a Porsche’ initiative, Vodafone Automotive was able to provide a suitable technical solution that enabled Porsche Netherlands to enter the Dutch market with a perfectly operating service.”

Paul van Splunteren, Managing Director, Porsche Netherlands

Porsche is one of the most highly regarded car manufacturers. Its reputation is upheld by industry experts, drivers of both road and race cars and fans across the world. By staying true to its sports car foundations, Porsche provides the ultimate driving experience. Thanks to a partnership between Vodafone Automotive and Porsche Netherlands (Pon), the exclusive importer in the Netherlands, the dream of driving a Porsche is available to more people than ever before.

The service enables a small group of people, two to four friends or colleagues, to share a car under a collective lease contract. The agreement is over a predetermined period of 12 or 24 months, for a fixed mileage that can be used between the multiple owners.

The mileage may be redistributed amongst the owners as they prefer, and each only pays for the distance they personally intend to travel. Within the shared ownership costs are all delivery, maintenance, repair, road taxation and insurance fees. The only cost not included is fuel, and all of the parameters included in the monthly fee are accessible and manageable via a dedicated mobile application developed by Vodafone Automotive.

Built into every ‘shared’ vehicle is a discreet telematics device, installed post-production by the local National Service Provider, Clifford. This device is activated and connected to the Vodafone network and the data gathered is analysed by the same Vodafone Automotive telematics platform that manages the dedicated mobile app.

In order to offer end users this service, Vodafone Automotive has developed the ‘Share a Porsche’ app for Pon. Using the app, which takes into account all privacy rules, the shared owners of the vehicle can quickly see availability and reserve the vehicle for specific dates.

soccerwatch.tv offers a streaming solution for soccer amateur leagues in Germany. A Vodafone LTE connected element with integrated cameras is automatically guided by self-learning algorithms that cover the whole soccer field. A highlight sequence of each game is automatically generated and provided via the soccerwatch.tv platform to the end device. Vodafone supports soccerwatch.tv not only with LTE connectivity but also with a brand and distribution push to promote the solution.

To learn more about soccerwatch.tv click here.

"Vodafone as our strategic partner offers us a huge network and big sales power, we offer them an innovative product. Therefore, it is an advantageous partnership for both companies!"

Ramin Mokhtari, CEO ICE-Gateway

With the help of Smart Street lights, cities and municipalities can now save up to 80% of costs: Together with the start-up ICE-Gateway, Vodafone Germany is working on the smart city of the future. The intelligent lighting solution not only ensures perfect lighting conditions as well as more security on the road, but also makes traffic run more smoothly and offers parking management. On the Vodafone Campus in Düsseldorf, we have implemented a pilot project with more than 60 Smart Lights. 

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Meet the team

PareshModi

Paresh Modi

Head of Business Development & Innovation

Laura Turkington

Senior Manager, Innovation

You can get to know us by completing our contact form, meeting us at one of our upcoming events, or answering one of our calls to action.