Smartphone-related accidents among kids riding their bicycles are a fast-growing problem in the Netherlands. Our brief: to develop a solution that dramatically increases the safety of children on their bicycles and, in doing so, to help KPN claim a unique position as a responsible telecom provider.
In partnership with a neuroscientific research institute, we studied the effects of smartphones on traffic safety among children. The results showed that smartphones present a constant distraction to cycling children - even when they aren’t using them. Kids can’t help being curious, and smartphone notifications demand instant attention.
Current options to block distractions are limited. Solutions such as Apple’s Car Mode or Samsung’s Do Not Distract mode need to be turned on manually, which is easily forgotten, or can be simply switched off, offering an easy way out to a generation that always wants to stay in touch with their friends.
Describe the creative idea
With Safe Lock, KPN becomes the first telecom provider in the world to increase the traffic safety of its youngest users by temporarily blocking their access to its cellular network.
KPN Safe Lock, a bicycle lock that acts as a binary switch. When the bicycle is unlocked, the KPN cellular and data network is locked, disabling all data and voice communication. When the bicycle is locked back up, the network is unlocked and kids can freely use their phone again. In case of an emergency, the alarm number can always be reached.
To make this possible, we had to enhance the KPN 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, as it builds on the existing habit of locking their bike with a similar style O-lock.
Describe the strategy
KPN exists to help people of all ages to explore the opportunities provided by technology, and to do so in a responsible way. The rising number of smartphone-related traffic accidents among children triggered us to examine how KPN could shoulder its responsibility as a telecom brand.
Our aim was to position KPN as a champion of traffic safety by developing a campaign that would go well beyond just communications. In order to achieve this, we set out to actively develop a real solution that would significantly increase the safety of children. This led to the idea for the Safe Lock. In parallel, we developed a campaign to raise awareness for the issue of smartphone-related distraction and to claim a strong position for KPN as a responsible telecom brand.
Describe the execution
The Safe Lock 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 again, 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.
The solution consists of three parts: the lock itself, a companion app and the enhanced KPN cellular network. The Safe Lock prototype was unveiled in June, 2017.
After a closed target group test in november 2017, the network has been live since February.
The actual product can now be pre-ordered and will be launched, together with the companion app in january 2019.
List the results
The Safe Lock was first presented as a prototype in June 2017. Since then, the lock has been widely reported by both national and international press, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Verge, and reached over 10 million people in The Netherlands (a country of only 17 million) and over 180 million people worldwide.
Our YouTube videos highlighting the dangers of smartphone distraction were watched over one million times and the influencers’ Instagram posts received over 350,000 likes.
Our press release issued an open invitation to telecom providers worldwide, to collaborate with us on the introduction of this solution around the globe. We believe that this innovation can be implemented in a wide range of transportation modes, including cars, and offers a powerful solution to a problem that will become increasingly urgent in the years to come. Especially among young drivers.