Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO, in 2016. Photo: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Motorola Mobility

Chinese tech giant Lenovo is joining a growing list of tech firms that see a business in helping other companies reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Technology can't address all the issues related to a return to office life, but there are lots of opportunities in the software and hardware needed to detect fevers, keep workers physically separated and track which workers have been in contact with one another.

Driving the news: The company's nascent commercial Internet of Things business, based in the U.S., is partnering with a number of smaller vendors to offer tools to help businesses with tasks like touchless entry, thermal temperature scanning and keeping track of which employees interact with one another.

Details: Lenovo is handling the overall distribution, service and support, while it is tapping partners with experience in the sector to provide specific hardware.

  • Partners include CXApp, Inpixon, L Squared, Relogix, Openpath, and Viper Imaging.

Between the lines: Lenovo only started its commercial IoT business late last year and had yet to launch its first products when the pandemic hit. "We flipped all our offerings before they were even released," said John Gordon, president of Lenovo's commercial I0T business.

Many of Lenovo's partners have also shifted gears to focus on COVID-19.

  • In the past, Viper Imaging's thermal scanning solutions were used to check the temperature of food or monitor conditions at steel mills. Now the firm is shifting to focus on people.
  • Thermal scanning was sometimes used in Asia during past disease outbreaks, like H1N1, but the technology was still too nascent and expensive for widespread use.
  • "We've learned a lot since then," said Viper Imaging co-founder Andy Beck.

Go deeper: When going back to work isn't safe

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Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

18 hours ago - Health

CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people

CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its previously revised guidance for coronavirus testing on Friday to say that testing asymptomatic people who were exposed to COVID-19 is recommended for treatment and contact tracing.

Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 30,539,903 — Total deaths: 952,629— Total recoveries: 20,800,482Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 6,726,353 — Total deaths: 198,603 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.