Three makes offer to supply SIM cards for the product and distribution deal signed with Commtel Innovative UK; more partnerships to follow
Surrey schoolboy Laurence Rook, 13, is looking for airtime distributors to partner the launch of his ‘Smart Bell’ mobile doorbell, which is set to land him up to £250,000 in sales.
Smart Bell, which is the size of a regular door bell, uses an in-built SIM-card and mobile technology to automatically make a call to the home owner’s handset when pressed. The owner can then speak to their visitor like any other call.
The Smart Bell also produces a small amount of ‘white noise’ to give visitors the impression they are speaking to someone inside the house, as part of a security measure.
Rook (pictured), who lives in Whyteleafe, says he came up with the idea for the Smart Bell after he missed the delivery of his Sony PlayStation 3 games console last year.
Speaking to Mobile News last week, he explained: “Over a year ago now, a parcel was supposed to be delivered to my house, but we missed the delivery time.
“Instead of leaving a note, my mum said, ‘Why don’t they call you?’ So I thought, ‘Why not put a phone in the door bell? So whenever that door bell is pressed, it will call your phone.”
Rook has been assisted in the development of the product by family friend Paula Ward – the ‘world female inventor of the year’ in 2004 – and her husband Rob Ward, who has helped with publicity.
Rob Ward says the opportunity to provide SIM-cards that will be sold with the Smart Bell provides a unique opportunity for any potential partners.
“Every 18 months people go shopping for a new phone because their contract runs out, or you go and buy a prepay SIM for a penny from Carphone Warehouse as long as you buy a top-up card.
“That phone might last 10 top-ups, but because it costs a penny people don’t take too much care of it and buy a new one if they lose it.
“With this door bell, (statistics show) people only move every nine years. Any airtime distributor would have a nine-year loyal customer, as opposed to a mobile phone customer who jumps around and changes handsets and operators every couple of years or months, depending.”
Ward says Three has already made an offer to supply SIM-cards for the Smart Bell, but the operator was unavailable to confirm this when contacted by Mobile News.
So far, Rook has signed a distribution deal for 20,000 units of the device with Northamptonshire-based Commtel Innovative UK, which will deliver the Smart Bell to major retailers including B&Q, PC World, Currys and Comet.
The product has even made the national news; Commtel Innovative UK chief executive Richard Drewnicki telling the Daily Mail: “There is certainly a market for this kind of product. We hope it will prove popular.”
Another deal is also being finalised for 250,000 units, the details of which cannot yet be made public.
Rook says he will use the money he makes from Smart Bell sales to fund his university studies. He also says he expects to invent more mobile-related products and would eventually like to be a big name in the mobile sector.