The former J-Phone lost considerable ground to DoCoMo in particular in man-machine business applications. The idea of being able to pay for stuff from your phone from Japan’s ubiquitous vending machines (24-hour booze, cigarettes and some really exotic stuff too) is old hat here. But, now, here’s a move that could presage a Vodafone move to remote monitoring business. Vodafone K.K. today announced that it would begin selling a remote module (the VRM301R) to industrial and business machine manufacturers.
The dinky little remote module, basically a mini-PDC phone only works at 9.6Kbps, but it talks- it talks to vending machines, and speaks of inventory checking applications and machine-machine communications that, if developed by Vodafone in Europe, could add a whole new business category. Of course, this is based on the assumption that Vodafone K.K. is Big V’s walking talking R&D lab and what gets tried out here and succeeds may well end up being deployed in the larger Vodafone universe.
Vodafone K.K. spokesman Matthew Nicholson stressed to WWJ that the module is “strictly domestic” and “PDC” only, but our fevered imaginations are already looking to European Horizons. For more details, see the Vodafone K.K. press release [.pdf] Here.