Eurobites: Vodafone's IoT tech to play role in employee-scanning system for post-coronavirus return to work

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: O2 UK set to challenge Ofcom over auction rules; Christian Luiga steps down at Telia; the Isle of Wight's COVID-19 time to shine has come.

  • Vodafone UK has teamed up with surveillance company Digital Barriers to launch an IoT-enabled heat-detection camera that it hopes will help UK organizations return to work safely. The Heat Detection Camera combines thermal imaging and Vodafone's IoT connectivity to screen the temperature of people as they enter buildings. Each camera, says Vodafone, can check the temperature of 100 people per minute, and thermal images are streamed in real time to a mobile device and instantly analyzed to provide a "discreet alert" that a person may have a raised temperature. Such alerts are further investigated using standard clinical evaluation methods in order to determine whether any further action is necessary.

  • O2 UK, which is in the news regarding a potential merger with Virgin Media, is intending to launch a legal challenge against regulator Ofcom over the rules it has set for the forthcoming 5G auction, according to a Financial Times report. The complaint, says the report, relates to how the blocks of spectrum are to be sold – in a fragmented rather than contiguous way. A spokesman for Ofcom said: "We're really disappointed that one operator has threatened to launch a legal dispute that could slow things down for mobile users and the economy."

  • Christian Luiga is to step down as chief financial officer of Telia and has told the new CEO and president, Allison Kirkby, that he will leave the company in September. The original plan had been for Luiga, who had been acting president and CEO at Telia, to return to his role as EVP and CFO at the Swedish operator once Kirkby had got her feet under the desk. Luiga has been with Telia for over 11 years and prior to that he spent time at Russia's MegaFon, among other companies. (See Eurobites: Kirkby signs off on a high at Tele2.)

  • UK-based IoT specialist Truphone has launched Truphone for Things, a platform that combines the company's eSIM technology and global connectivity platform to provide businesses with more ways of connecting their assets, or at least the ones that need connecting.

  • A new report from consultancy Reply claims that telecom is one of the few industries to actually benefit from the COVID-19 crisis, with a surge in interest in DSL and cable Internet being felt across Europe. According to the study, interest in DSL and cable Internet rose most strongly in Italy (+62%), followed by Germany (30%), the UK (26%), France (25%) and Spain (9%). Consumer interest in brands from the telecom industry also rose by 3% overall, says Reply. The research was carried out by using Quentin, a tool which aggregates search volumes from Google Trends and Google Ads.

  • Neterra, an independent operator in Bulgaria, has become an official sales partner of disaster-recovery software and cloud services firm Acronis. Neterra will offer its customers a range of Acronis products.

  • The UK government confirmed over the weekend that it plans to carry out a trial of a coronavirus contact-tracking app on the timewarp holiday idyll that is the Isle of Wight. The "Sunshine Isle," as the locals insist on calling it in the face of all evidence to the contrary, lies a couple of miles south of the UK mainland, separated by a treacherous stretch of sea called The Solent. Bereft of bridges to the mainland, it is served only by sporadic ferries and, bizarrely, a hovercraft. Rumors that the trial will involve one half of the island downloading the app and the other half downing a pint of bleach* as a control group have been strenuously denied by the authorities. Full details of the trial, which will be based on "centralized" Bluetooth-enabled technology, are being announced later today. (See Eurobites: UK's NHS goes its own way on COVID-19 app and Eurobites: Row grows over COVID-19 contact-tracing apps.)

    The Isle of Wight: Sun-kissed holiday idyll and now COVID-19 app testbed
    The Isle of Wight: Sun-kissed holiday idyll and now COVID-19 app testbed

    *Definitely fake news. Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else for that matter.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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