As of early 2020, few could have predicted what the year would bring: a global pandemic that completely overhauled daily life and placed unprecedented demands on society. Though this year is anything but average, Tomorrow Street and its scale-ups have long known the importance of staying agile in a world that never sits still. How Tomorrow Street portfolio company Digital Barriers are helping organizations protect their people and customers.
Credits © Digital Barriers
“One of the first things that struck me with Covid-19 was how rapidly things changed. I don’t think anyone could have imagined how quickly we’d move to a remote, virtual world,” said Kenneth Graham, CEO, Tomorrow Street. “While the pandemic has presented new challenges, it has also given us an opportunity to learn and change.”
Technology, due to its rapid pace, proved the only match capable of keeping up with the pandemic’s swift demands, such as sudden, universal telecommuting. Tomorrow Street’s biggest opportunity to help organizations return to the office and create a safer environment for their visitors, came through its partnership with Digital Barriers and the scale-up’s smart surveillance solution.
“One of our flagship products EdgeVis Live delivers optimum streaming performance, particularly at low bandwidths and in situations where it is critical that a fixed bandwidth is not exceeded,” explained John Sharpe, Group Operations and Managing Director, Digital Barriers. “So, reliable and usable video is delivered wirelessly with almost zero latency – even at bandwidths as low as 9kpbs, allowing video to be transmitted without costly investment in infrastructure.”
By equipping this existing product with heat detection technology, the team gave frontline workers – from the medical to the aviation industry – a way to identify possible Covid-19 cases from a distance. The thermal imaging solution (cf. picture) combines EdgeVis Live and the company’s suite of intelligent analytics products with Vodafone’s network and IoT technology. Accurate to within 0.3 degrees Celsius, the devices produce HD images and trigger alarms when temperatures exceed defined thresholds. The cameras, connected by Vodafone’s IoT network, can screen up to 100 people per minute.
“It was a worrying time when the pandemic broke, but the heat detection project has been a real highlight for us at Tomorrow Street…”
Within a few short months the solution went from concept to deployment and is being rolled out to thousands of organizations around the world. Meeting this launch goal during a pandemic proved no small feat.
“The experience was an interesting one, not solely because we were bringing a new product to market within such a short time frame, but also due to the physical constraints, such as individuals working from home, while also adhering to restrictions around social distancing,” John recalled.
It hasn’t taken long for organizations to recognize the safety benefits for their workers as thermal imaging replaces the need for close proximity temperature monitoring.
“It was a worrying time when the pandemic broke, but the heat detection project has been a real highlight for us at Tomorrow Street. Digital Barriers moved with impressive pace and we supported them through the Vodafone processes to help position their product for launch in multiple countries,” Kenneth noted. “There has been incredible focus and drive from the Vodafone teams involved to bring the product to Vodafone customers in a very short timeframe – it’s been an exciting few weeks.”
According to Kenneth, the role of Tomorrow Street and other accelerators/incubators is even more critical now during Covid-19 than ever before. Accelerators and incubators must be bold, creative facilitators of opportunity, helping startups identify the strategies and clients to move ideas forward.
Before it invites a scale-up to join Tomorrow Street, the team confers with its key stakeholders to ensure that Vodafone and the Luxembourg ecosystem are the right partners to accelerate its growth across Europe and the globe.
With this foundation of open communication and shared vision, it didn’t take long for those engaged with Tomorrow Street to unite behind a digital solution that would empower businesses to protect their workforces during Covid-19 and beyond – just a small taste of what a digital society can achieve.
“Moving forward, people should have more confidence to change and transform at a quicker pace because they know it can be done,” Kenneth concluded. “We’ve already seen a steep change in the last few months in terms of building a digital society and inclusivity – bringing in people who haven’t been a part of the digital world. I hope it’s a platform for further change and transformation as the world comes out of the worst of the crisis.”