KPN, a Dutch telecommunications company, recognized that children’s bicycle accidents were on the rise, and they often involved cellphone distractions. In order to help solve this issue and position KPN as a responsible telecomm provider, the company developed “KPN Safe Lock.” The device attached to bicycles and prevented children from connecting to the cellular data network when riding his or her bike. With this campaign, KPN was able to position itself as a champion of traffic safety.
Dutch and international press reported on the product, and KPN reached more than half of the Dutch population.
KPN studied the effects of smartphones on traffic safety in partnership with a neuroscientific research institute and found that smartphones present a constant distraction to cycling children. Smartphone notifications demand instant attention. Curious children are inclined to check their devices, even when it can be dangerous to do so.
KPN exists to help people of all ages explore the opportunities provided by technology in a responsible way. The rising number of smartphone-related traffic accidents among children triggered the brand to examine how KPN could participate in solving this issue.
This led to the idea for Safe Lock, a smartphone enabled device that would block cellular data and the KPN network when the bike was unlocked. In parallel, the brand developed a campaign to raise awareness for the issue of smartphone-related distraction and to establish KPN as a responsible telecom brand.
The Safe Lock device connects to the Safe Lock app on the child’s phone via Bluetooth. When the bicycle is unlocked, it sends a signal to the app. The app then sends a signal to the KPN network, which temporarily blocks all data and voice communication to and from the child’s smartphone. When the lock is closed, a second signal is sent from the lock to the app, and the app notifies the KPN network to enable all data and voice communication to the smartphone again. In case of an emergency, the alarm number can be reached at all times.
To make this possible, KPN enhanced its cellular network, enabling it to temporarily block all data and voice communication to a specific smartphone. The lock is very easy to use for kids.
The Safe Lock prototype was unveiled in June 2017. The brand first conducted a closed target group test in November 2017. The Safe Lock can now be pre-ordered and will be launched with an Android app The iOS app will be released at a later date.
The Safe Lock was first presented as a prototype in June 2017. Its introduction was widely reported by both national and international press, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and TheVerge.com. The brand reached over 10 million people in The Netherlands, a country of 17 million, and over 180 million people worldwide in less than 5 days.
KPN’s YouTube videos highlighting the dangers of smartphone distraction were watched over one million times. The brand also leveraged influencers as part of the campaign, and their posts received over 350,000 likes.
The press release issued an open invitation to telecom providers worldwide to collaborate with KPN on the introduction of this solution around the globe. The brand believes that this innovation could apply to a wide range of transportation modes, including cars.