HPE and Zebra Technologies among the first to deliver suites of return-to-work solutions to help organizations accelerate recovery in the wake of COVID-19.

Governments around the world have issued guidelines requiring employers to develop and implement appropriate policies such as, but not limited to, social distancing, contact tracing and disinfection.

According to Zebra Technologies, its MotionWorks Proximity solution meets the requirements outlined in the guidelines and the needs of many enterprises looking for a viable option to enhance their reopening strategies.

Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced worldwide availability of what could be the most comprehensive suite of five solutions to help businesses of any size reopen and resume operations while maintaining employee health and safety with new offerings for social distance tracing and tracking, touchless entry, fever detection, and more. HPE’s five new return-to-work solutions to help organizations accelerate business recovery and reopening plans in the wake of COVID-19 are aimed at assisting in controlling the spread of the virus and enabling business continuity. The solutions will be implemented and managed through HPE Pointnext Technology Services for a fast, seamless transition. These solutions will scale for businesses of all sizes using secure, high-performing HPE servers for the edge, Aruba AI-powered network infrastructure, and technologies from HPE’s ecosystem of partners.

Zebra’s approach

“The health and safety of our employees has been our utmost priority and Zebra stands firm in protecting our front-line workers and those returning to the offices,” said Fang-How Lim, Regional Director for South-east Asia, Zebra Technologies. “Various teams across our company came together to define, develop and deploy a proximity tracing, alerting and contact tracing solution within one of our largest distribution facilities. It is currently available for our customers to deploy and protect their employees working in manufacturing and warehouse environments.”

Zebra’s solution provides proximity and contact tracing insights, dashboards and reports to employers as well as individual proximity alerts for the employees. The data is tied to an employee ID or anonymized user ID, allowing for actionable insights by the employer while allowing for the privacy of individuals, unlike other public contact tracing solutions. Accurate, automated contact tracing can help companies quickly identify exposed employees for testing, potentially limiting widespread facility closures.

Leveraging Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) and WiFi, the software solution is hosted in the cloud, implemented quickly and managed remotely by Zebra, eliminating on-site professional services. It doesn’t require new infrastructure and can be leveraged on existing supported Zebra Android devices or new devices available in different form factors and price points depending on customer requirements.

“Our solution utilizes front-line workers’ existing devices which helps in reducing additional capital costs and accelerates employee adoption,” said Lim. “With our depth of expertise and experience in ruggedized Android mobile computers, we are able to provide this solution with security and privacy embedded at the outset.”

HPE’s solutions

HPE has been working closely with customers that have experienced disruption due to COVID-19 related shutdowns and has helped keep their businesses running by building or enhancing remote work capabilities. Examples include implementing improved, secure connectivity and VDI solutions to support a teleworking staff. Additionally, to help customers conserve capital and lower financial risk, HPE offered $2 billion in financing and new programs through HPE Financial Services.

These offerings include deferred or reduced expenses, short-term rentals, and generating cash by converting existing, owned IT assets into capital that can be applied to purchase new, upgraded technology.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, our customers have turned to HPE to help them adapt to unique challenges presented by the pandemic to maintain business continuity. We have been there for them throughout these difficult times, on everything from supporting a transition to a remote workforce with our comprehensive virtual desktop interface (VDI) solutions, to now helping them return back to work and to a new normal,” said Saadat Malik, vice president, IoT and Intelligent Edge Services, at HPE. “As businesses are reopening and returning employees onsite, our new robust solutions, featuring a range of HPE technologies and partner capabilities, are helping them make this transition safely while building on a highly differentiated, long term workplace digitization strategy.”

The five new return-to-work solutions HPE introduced include social distance tracing and tracking, touchless entry, fever detection, augmented reality and visual remote guidance, and workplace alerts and information sharing.

They are developed to address the next phase for customers who are anticipating at least a portion of their employees to safely return to their regular place of work in company facilities. Customers that have already begun implementing these solutions range from large international airports and global food processing and packaging plants, to retail stores and corporate offices.

The new solutions will use HPE ProLiant servers, HPE EdgeLine Converged Edge Systems and Aruba AI-powered network infrastructure to power and process cameras and video analytics at the edge as well as enable location services. The solutions also leverage technologies from partners that provide intelligent surveillance and thermal cameras, and AI software for video analytics (SAFR from RealNetworks, Venzo Secure).

ISA SpA, a manufacturer and supplier of commercial furnishings in Italy, has already implemented some of these solutions to monitor the proximity and duration of interaction between its workers and alert them with push notifications if they have come too close in contact with others. Details on the collaboration can be found here.

Data privacy, security and compliance

HPE’s solutions are geared to expedite business recovery for businesses of any size, while addressing data privacy, security and compliance requirements as well as creating a more intelligent and safer workplace for employees.

The company has been working closely with customers across the globe to help them understand the capabilities of the new return-to-work solutions, including how data is captured, transmitted, analyzed, and stored.

Customers can then determine how they will handle their data based on relevant legal, regulatory, and company policies that govern privacy. HPE also offers its customers a rich set of services focused on helping them assess and mitigate security concerns related to deployment of IT solutions, including the return-to-work offerings.