India’s third-largest telecom operator, Vodafone Idea, is looking to play a crucial role in India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive which kicked off on January 16 primarily for the frontline workers.
Vodafone Idea’s enterprise arm, Vi Business, has reportedly initiated discussions with India’s two authorized COVID-19 vaccine makers, Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech, to offer sensor-based services for digital tracking of vaccine supply chains in real-time. It is also looking to provide temperature monitoring service for vaccines in transit.
“Vi Business is engaged with vaccine makers, pharma companies, air/road transport operators and logistics players to deploy its IoT solutions for supply chain visibility of cold chains, monitoring and managing logistics,” the telco’s spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
Vodafone Idea said that its enterprise arm has already developed the IoT-based solutions and vaccine temperature sensors that can enable end-to-end monitoring of vaccine consignments in the country. The telco is already testing these solutions for multiple use cases such as supply chain tracking to temperature monitoring of vaccines-in-transit.
“These solutions will power the temperature sensors installed on cold storage devices in several states to support India’s massive COVID-19 vaccination drive,” a senior Vodafone Idea executive separately told the publication. He added that these tools and solutions would soon be sold commercially to vaccine makers, cold chains, logistics companies and air cargo operators.
Additionally, all three private telecom operators, including Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are currently making efforts to improve broadband connectivity at key vaccination sites to enable healthcare workers, and medical teams perform administration work effectively. They are also in talks with top vaccine makers and pharma companies to offer reliable broadband connectivity.
Notably, the country’s vaccination drive across various states hit a bump even on the third day due to glitches in an app called Co-Win used to coordinate the campaign.
Co-Win, developed by the Indian government, is supposed to help by alerting healthcare workers who are first in line to get shots and allowing officials to monitor and manage the entire drive.
All three private telecom operators will also provide circle-wise dissemination of vaccination-related information to customers via text messages. They are currently awaiting directions from Indian authorities.
“Telcos are also awaiting directions from the government on ways to make the Co-Win mobile app more effective as a mass COVID vaccination delivery mechanism,” the publication reported citing sources.