Ericsson has teamed up with Orange Belgium on IoT connectivity and management for GrandPad tablet devices, aimed to help make it easier for seniors who are physically distanced during Covid to stay socially connected.
GrandPad tablets were designed specifically for seniors with a simplified design that includes basic video calling, voice, text, email and photo sharing. It also offers services like unlimited music, streaming radio, news, and games.
The devices have built-in LTE, and now Orange Belgium is providing cellular IoT connectivity, management services and SIM cards to users in the U.K. and Ireland so that they can connect with family or caregivers from any location.
Orange is leveraging Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator platform for simplified, reliable, and secure device connectivity. This is particularly important, the company says, at times when Wi-Fi might not be available and COVID-19 restrictions are in place. GrandPad also can monitor and control the SIM fleet in real time via a web portal interface that’s included in Ericsson’s IoT platform.
“We're very impressed with the connectivity and coverage of the LTE service that Ericsson and Orange deliver in Ireland and the UK, as well as the quality of the administrative tools that allow us to manage a large fleet of GrandPads," said Scott Lien, co-founder and CEO of GrandPad, via email to FierceWireless.
In the first month, the program has nearly 600 active tablets in the region, according to Ericsson. While initially available in the U.K. and Ireland, there are plans to expand across Europe.
"Mobile devices have been a lifesaver during COVID-19, but challenges around WiFi, including its availability and reliability, often prevent older adults from consistently using these technologies. Fortunately, every GrandPad connected tablet comes with built-in LTE service, which removes this barrier," said Lien in a statement. "We're thrilled to announce this partnership – especially at this critical time – because it gives GrandPad users in the UK and Ireland access to broad network coverage and fast, secure and reliable 4G LTE."
According to Lien, families in the U.K. and Ireland can purchase the GrandPad online through TechSilver.
GrandPad subscriptions are on a monthly or annual basis, and include the device, related software and apps, 4G TLE data, and 24-hour personalized support.
Annual subscriptions purchased in the U.K. and Ireland cost around $839, while monthly price is around $80. There is no contract with the annual subscription, so if users cancel early unused fees are credited back. There are no extra fees and no limits apply for standard data usage.
In other Ericsson IoT news this month, the vendor said its IoT Accelerator platform, in partnership with Telenor Connexion, is helping to power sustainable micro-factories.
The micro-factories are created by Wayout for sustainable water treatment, with fully automated IoT modules that can filter 70,000 liters of water, remove up to eight tons of CO2, and up to 200,000 plastic bottles each month. A smartphone application manages operations, monitors performance and enables autocleaning.
Telenor is providing IoT connectivity and SIM cards, starting in East Africa. There are plans to expand to additional regions next year, including the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Telenor Connexion also arranges any agreements required with local operators.
Updated with comment from GrandPad CEO Scott Lien.