Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

O2 IoT products help UK businesses back to work

Steve Rogerson
August 19, 2020

O2 Business has launched a suite of IoT products to help UK businesses enable fast, secure and safe access to the workplace as they return during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A partnership with Bell Integration will provide thermal scanning devices and contactless visitor management.
Mobile operator O2 is deploying similar technology in its own headquarters in Slough to support its employees when they return to work 
O2 Business is rolling out the digital services for businesses to help the UK get back to work safely in a Covid-19 world. The services, which will enable fast, secure and safe access into and around the workplace, will also help give the public safer access to gyms, restaurants and other leisure activities by helping manage the risk of contamination.
As lockdown eases, many businesses are facing operational difficulties and anxieties about the return to work, with the British Chambers of Commerce calling for companies to install “crystal-clear official guidance” on safety.
To help businesses adapt and ensure workplaces, and other customer-facing businesses, are safe to open up their doors, O2 has partnered with London-based Bell Integration to launch a suite of IoT safeguarding products for businesses.
“We are excited to partner with O2 to deliver Covid-19 safeguarding,” said John Davenport, sales director at Bell Integration. “IoT can play a major role in maintaining social distancing and helping to prevent the spread of the virus. We believe O2’s extensive connectivity, combined with Bell Integration’s experience in deploying cutting-edge IoT, will enable organisations to return to the workplace safely.” 
Digital services available to O2’s business customers include a thermal imaging tablet with contactless visitor management. This all-in-one infra-red temperature sensing tablet can read surface body temperature accurate to ±0.3˚C from a distance of one metre. This service is combined with the capability to manage visitors from a distance and enable a contactless check-in experience, where each visitor will need to use a unique QR code to verify their attendance. All visitor data are secure and GDPR compliant, and will be able to support the government’s track-and-trace efforts if required.
While handheld thermal imaging devices already exist on the market, many have an accuracy of ±2 degrees. In comparison, O2 and Bell Integration’s IoT-based handheld thermal imaging scanner is accurate to 0.5 degrees. This can be used in controlled locations with a limited number of people, as well as situations with high footfall, such as airports, transport services and public spaces.
Social distancing room management monitors the people count and occupancy status of communal areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and meeting rooms. A simple digital display unit shows green or red as to when it is safe to enter a room or communal space, in accordance with social distancing rules.
O2 is deploying similar contactless visitor management and thermal imaging scanning technology at its headquarters in Bath Road, Slough, as well as trialling the technology at various small businesses, high street venues such as pubs and restaurants, and workplaces.
“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 Jo Bertram, managing director at O2 Business. “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.”
Last month, O2 Business announced the rollout of a suite of digital products including virtual queuing, staff scheduling and appointment booking technologies – which proved successful in allowing O2 to reopen its retail stores – to a range of users including retailers, supermarkets, stadia and healthcare businesses.
O2 is a subsidiary of Telefónica.