O2 Business debuts IoT toolkit to support UK firms in post-lockdown return to office

O2 Business is rolling out a suite of internet-of-things (IoT) offerings to support its business-to-business (B2B) clients in negotiating how to ensure their staff can safely return to work in the office while the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to play out.

As the UK government continues to take steps to ease lockdown restrictions, O2 Business has partnered with IT services company Bell Integration to create a suite of IoT products that it claims will support firms seeking to bring remote staff safely back to the office.

They include a thermal-imaging tablet that can read a user’s surface body temperature from a metre away. This is intended to be combined with a QR code-based contactless visitor management tool to support companies checking in guests or employees to their workplaces.

According to O2 Business, any visitor data gleaned from this product will be stored securely and in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and will be used to support the government’s track-and-trace efforts, if required.

The two companies have also devised a hand-held thermal-imaging scanner, which they claim is accurate to 0.5 degrees, to make it easier for organisations to pinpoint people with elevated body temperatures who may present symptoms of the coronavirus.

This technology is intended for deployment within controlled environments containing a limited number of people or areas with high footfall, including airports, transport services and public spaces, said O2 Business.

The final addition to its portfolio is a room management system that is designed to support social distancing by monitoring the number of people within communal workplace areas by using a traffic light-like system to inform people when it is safe to enter the area, based on footfall.

O2 Business confirmed it had already deployed the contactless visitor management system and its thermal-imaging technology at its Bath Road headquarters in Slough, Berkshire, and it is also being trialled in a series of pubs, restaurants and small businesses across the country.

Jo Bertram, managing director at O2 Business, said the tools were part of the company’s ongoing push to support businesses through the pandemic.

“During lockdown, connectivity became one of the UK’s most valued services and we have continued to look at ways we can use our customer-centric networks to support this country,” said Bertram.

“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. 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.”

John Davenport, sales director at Bell Integration, said IoT devices have an important role to play in helping UK businesses adjust to the changes to normal working life the coronavirus has ushered in.

“IoT can play a major role in maintaining social distancing and helping to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said. “We believe O2’s extensive connectivity, combined with Bell Integration’s experience in deploying cutting-edge IoT solutions, will enable organisations to return to the workplace safely.”