In case you are not a driver, it is likely that the connected V16 beacon is totally unknown to you. Otherwise, however, it is quite likely that you have been hearing about it for a few months now and, a little more recently, about the connected V16 beacon and how it will affect the motor world. But connected to what? And how? How does it work? What exactly is it for? What function does the fact that it is connected serve? Is it mandatory? Should I find one and buy it now? Questions, questions and more questions that we will try to answer.
As a quick introduction, before jumping to the connected variant, we will begin by clarifying that the “normal” V16 beacon is the element called to replace the popular warning triangles, you know, those that you have to risk your life to put on the road if, for any reason, your vehicle is stopped on the road or on the shoulder. The abuses during its placement are relatively common and, to solve this problem, the DGT has decided to replace them, as an emergency signal, with a light element which is fixed to the top of the vehicle (something we can do without leaving it) and whose light power makes us visible from a great distance.
However, What does that have to do with the Internet, more specifically with IoT? Well, that’s where the connected V16 beacon comes in. In its external appearance, nothing distinguishes it from the basic model (without connectivity) but, as its name will have already led you to deduce, this version of the emergency signal has cellular connectivity, that is, it connects to the Internet through the telephone network when this is necessary.
How does the connected V16 beacon connect to the Internet?
This is one of the points that generates the most doubts for users. Will they have to configure it to connect to the Internet through their smartphones? Or with car connectivity systems? No, its use cannot be conditional on the fact that we have not run out of battery or we have left our mobile at home. The beacon has its own connectivity, so it is not necessary to have other connected devices.
Where does the beacon connect to?
To DTG 3.0. And what is that of DGT 3.0? Well, this is how the General Directorate of Traffic explains it on its website:
«DGT 3.0 is the DGT’s connected vehicle platform that facilitates the interconnection of all the actors that are part of the mobility ecosystem to offer real-time traffic information to road users at all times, thus allowing more mobility to be achieved. safe and smart.»
This, taken in the context of the connected V16 beacon, means that when we activate it, in addition to lighting up, it will connect to this platform.
What is it connected for?
The connected V16 beacon remains inactive while it is turned off, and this refers not only to its illumination, but also to its connection. The beacon will only connect to DGT 3.0 when we turn it on to signal our position on the road, at which time it will transmit our exact position, in order to speed up possible intervention by security and emergency services.
According to the regulations, there will be no privacy problems, since no personal information will be transmitted when the beacon connects to the Internet to report our position. In this regard, by having its own connection, that is, by not using our personal connection (that of the smartphone) it seems less likely that it can be used to obtain personal data.
Is it mandatory?
Not yet, there are still a few years left before the connected V16 beacon replaces the ubiquitous triangles. Currently, for the signaling of incidents, we can use the triangles (for many years) or the V16 beacons (since the middle of 2021), with or without connection. However this will change on January 1, 2026, at which time triangles and offline beacons will no longer be usable. With this deadline, the DGT not only gives both drivers and industry time to produce and adopt them, it also grants itself that deadline to put the infrastructure into operation.
Will I have to pay for the Internet connection?
Yes and no. In other words, the connectivity of the beacon has and will have a price, but you should not think in the same terms as the fiber connection at home or the mobile data plan. Movistar and Vodafone have already announced their connected V16 beacon models, that is, models that use their cellular networks, and in both cases the price of the beacon includes connectivity for a certain number of years.
Can I buy it now?
If you want to be one of the first to have it, yes, you can go through the box and get one. At the moment there are two models approved by the DGT and that are already available on the market. By arrival dates, although only a few days apart, the first to arrive was Help Flash IoT, produced by the Galician company Netun Solutions and connected through the Vodafone network. Its cost is 59.95 euros and that price includes network connectivity until January 2038. This is its website.
A few days later, as I said, FlashLED SOS V16 arrived, which also uses IoT-NB (Narrow Band) connectivity but which, as you can imagine, uses Movistar’s cellular network. Its price is also 59.95 euros but, temporarily, it can be purchased for 49.95 euros. In this case, the data plan includes connectivity for 13 years, although it is not clear if it is from its purchase, its first use or the entry into force of the mandatory use, on January 1, 2026. You can find more information at their website.
Now, perhaps the million dollar question is not if you can buy it now, but if it is worth buying it now, and in this regard the answer is not so clear. At the moment, as we have told you, there are only two models on the market, so the offer is very limited and it is quite likely that, over time, new manufacturers and models will appear that could contribute to its price drop.
On the other hand, if you plan to change your car soon, more and more dealers are considering giving it away with new vehicles, so if this is your case, we recommend that you wait until you have made said purchase.
Yes, it is likely that a few weeks before its mandatory entry into force there will be a monumental increase in demand, which can translate into less availability and, as always happens in these cases, in price increases. So, my personal recommendation is that, unless you have a particular reason to want to have it now, keep in mind that there are still almost three years until it is mandatory, so you can wait and see how that market evolves.
Beacon V16 connected and privacy
Both the General Directorate of Traffic and the manufacturers of the devices and the operators focus on this point, the beacon does not transmit personal data or any other type of information other than its own activation and geographical location. In this regard, and given that it is a device that is purchased independently (that is, not linked to the vehicle or the owner’s data) we can be, at least in principle, calm on this point.
However, it will be interesting to see how future models of the beacon evolve to see if they start to add new features and, along the way, also start to collect and transmit more data than is strictly necessary for its primary function.