O2 says a new range of smart safety products will allow offices, retailers and other businesses to enforce coronavirus-related social distancing and safeguarding requirements.
The government’s easing of lockdown measures has allowed more people to return to the workplace and a greater variety of businesses to resume trading – albeit with additional responsibilities for employees and customers.
These requirements can create practical and financial challenges for businesses that need to make significant alterations to their procedures. O2 hopes that the Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity can ease logistical headaches.
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O2 Business tools
When the operator reopened its stores in June, it used virtual queuing, digital appointment, and staff scheduling applications to improve safety. This suite of services was then made available to its business customers.
Now it has teamed up with Bell integration on a new range of thermal scanning and visitor management tools. These are suitable for office and retail environments, with O2 trialling the technology at its headquarters in Slough.
A thermal imaging tablet can read the surface body temperature of an individual form a distance of up to one metre with 0.3 degree margin of error. This is then paired with contactless visitor management capabilities that provides a QR code for visitors to scan and check-in. All data is secured and can be shared with the government’s track and trace efforts.
O2 is also offering a handheld thermal imaging scanner that can provide a temperature reading with 0.5 degree accuracy. O2 says this is the highest level of accuracy possible with a single camera.
Finally, a social distancing room management platform can monitor the occupancy status of a communal area such as a kitchen or meeting room and ensure capacity is not exceeded. A digital display unit is green when it is safe to enter a room and red when it is not.
“As we look to rebuild Britain, these new COVID-19 solutions will help minimise the risk of spreading the virus as the nation returns to work – through automation and reducing moments of physical interaction,” said Jo Bertram, O2 Business managing director. “It will not only help businesses get back on their feet but bolster their confidence as they reopen their doors over the coming weeks and months.”
The pandemic has elevated the status of the telecoms with the public relying on their mobile and broadband connections for work, entertainment and communication. The industry has been keen to point out its growing importance to policy makers and regulators, stating that 5G and fibre can help drive economic recovery and help businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.