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Eurobites: Telekom Austria helps shoppers keep their distance

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: KCOM owner looks to break up the business; Ekinops secures first customer for OTN switch; ADVA braces for quantum attacks.

  • A1 Austria, the domestic subsidiary of A1 Telekom Austria Group, has combined with analytics firm Pygmalios to develop an "intelligent access control system" intended to help with social distancing in stores reopening as coronavirus restrictions, at least in some locations, are eased. A "digital traffic light" system in the store's entrance area is controlled by optical sensors placed at key points within the stores, making for, in theory at least, a safer shopping experience. Retailers also have the option of extending the system and using it to analyze visitor paths within the store and shoppers' length of stay.

  • The Australian owner of KCOM, a UK altnet focused mainly on the city of Hull in the north of England, is planning to break up the company, retaining the key Hull part and carving out the other units into separate businesses for possible sale, according to a report in the Financial Times (paywall applies). MEIF6, a subsidiary of Australian private equity firm Macquarie, acquired KCOM last year for £627 million (US$774 million). KCOM provides voice and broadband services to approximately 140,000 households and businesses via its fiber-to-the-premises network in the Hull and wider East Yorkshire region.

  • France's Ekinops has secured the first customer for its OTN switch, though all it's saying at this stage is that said customer is a "major provider of telecommunication and digital solutions in EMEA." The Ekinops Transport Switch (ETS) is being used to upgrade an existing optical transport network from 10G to 100G using a two-phase approach: Existing 10G services are optimized and simplified before the network is ultimately migrated to 100G.

  • OK, here's one for the eggheads: Germany's ADVA says it is playing a key role in a research initiative by developing technology that will protect virtual private networks (VPNs) from cyber attacks initiated by super-powerful quantum computers that are set to arrive on the scene in the next ten to 15 years. The initiative is using ADVA FSP 150 edge devices in combination with ConnectGuard Ethernet encryption technology.

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media is trumpeting its progress in Northern Ireland, where more than 150,000 homes and business have now been connected to its "ultrafast" network as part of Virgin's Project Lightning. Connectees, as Light Reading is now calling them, are enjoying speeds of up to 516 Mbit/s. Next on Virgin's to-do list in the province is the building of a full-fiber network to connect sites across the city of Belfast. (See O2 and Virgin Media to merge in £31.4B deal and Eurobites: Virgin's Project Lightning Strikes Northern Ireland .)

  • The annual general meeting of Swedish operator Tele2 on Monday re-elected Andrew Barron, Anders Björkman, Georgi Ganev, Cynthia Gordon, Eva Lindqvist, Lars-Åke Norling and Carla Smits-Nusteling as directors of the board, and re-elected Carla Smits-Nusteling as chairman of the board. The AGM also resolved on a dividend of SEK5.50 per share to be paid in two equal installments.

  • Light Reading salutes TalkTalk, which is allowing the Hamilton Davies Trust to use some of the UK fixed-line provider's temporarily vacated office space for the production of scrubs and plastic visors for frontline National Health Service staff and local care homes as the coronavirus continues to do its worst. To date, 35,000 plastic visors have rolled off the production line, and now the volunteers are getting busy on the scrubs.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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