Behind the scenes at Vodafone Business

Pulling together for the pandemic

Harnessing community spirit and connectivity to conquer COVID-19

When the pandemic struck, pushing the UK into swift nationwide lockdown, a rapid shift to home working was the only way many businesses could remain operational, and essential public sector organisations, like the NHS and its hospitals, and care homes, suddenly found themselves under huge pressure. Meanwhile, local government struggled to deliver key services and protect their most vulnerable citizens from loneliness and isolation. Rising like a phoenix from the flames came a new spirit of community and friendship. From every corner of society, everyone pulled together. People ensured their vulnerable neighbours had food, weren’t lonely, and stayed safe. Huge efforts were made to help businesses remain afloat and public sector organisations delivered essential care, and not just by employees, but suppliers too. This was particularly the case on the technology front, with the right digital connectivity and collaboration tools key to successfully making the shift to working remotely and maintaining vital care levels.

Digital technology was suddenly both business and life-critical and Vodafone was keen to play its part by connecting people and businesses when they needed it most. We’re immensely proud of the dedication shown by our employees and the organisations we partnered with, and especially what we all achieved together…

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Informing pandemic planning

With critical help from government and medical experts, the Vodafone team built an epidemiological model to help predict how COVID-19 would spread. Our collaboration helped inform crisis planning at home and in countries across the globe, including the Czech Republic, DRC, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Romania, South Africa and Spain. It also provided key information to the European Commission, the IMF, UNICEF and the World Bank. Our combined work won the DataIQ Award 2020 for Most Effective Stakeholder Engagement.

Helping NHS superheroes and patients

Recognising the importance of keeping key workers connected, we offered all carers and NHS staff six months’ free unlimited data. Meanwhile, Glasgow’s NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital’s patients and workers were able to make video voice calls to their families and friends thanks to an enhanced Vodafone network. What’s more, we worked with one of Cardiff's hospital to deploy 5G technology to enable remote cancer surgery to be carried out that might have otherwise been postponed, without putting doctors and surgeons at unnecessary risk.

Expanding virtual care

It was all hands on deck when we helped NHS England set up a virtual contact centre service to enable over 1,000 recently retired health workers, GPs and clinicians to support NHS 111 and COVID-19 services remotely. Achieving in five days what would usually take six months, everyone showed what’s possible when we all come together.

Putting customers first

We all needed a helping hand during lockdown, especially smaller businesses, so we halved the price of our unlimited data package and lowered the cost of our fastest broadband for them. We also set up a rapid response room to help 100s of people who urgently needed connectivity. Meanwhile, our team continued to innovate, launching affordable tools to help small businesses survive, such as the Secure Mobile Office.