Evolve to survive: Digital telecare technology – Mario Zuccaro

At a time when people are getting used to new and increasing amounts of technology to keep in touch and to enable work from home, Local Authorities and care providers are similarly increasing the use of technology for the care of their VIP (Vulnerable Independent People). During this pandemic, many VIP’s are successfully adopting and using digital care technology to ensure their continued well-being, which is creating a demand for this tech in service providers.

Observing the rise of the digital over the traditional alternatives that most are more familiar with, I wonder if everyone now using digital care technology all really understand how the system works? Do people actually understand the differences between digital and traditional care technology and appreciate why digital is most definitely the best choice in the telecare arena? I’m not so sure.
In my opinion, there now appears to be a gap starting to evolve between the functionality of traditional technology and the innovation of the digital.

It is a fact that traditional telecare systems were not built or designed for the digital world. Digital technology (where the infrastructure is correctly designed) is able to surpass the capabilities of traditional technology. Providing greater resilience, speed, efficiency, with trend and analysis through AI and Big data techniques, digital technology has the power to enable services to become more predictive rather than reactive. Dramatically cutting the need for emergency response thanks to potential issues being spotted and dealt with before they hit crisis point, digital technology provides us with the means to get much better at helping our VIPs now, and ourselves in the future.

I understand that it can be a daunting switch for those comfortable with the traditional analogue world and many are unsure in this new and fast-paced technological era. I’m not saying everyone should immediately run off and invest in new call-handling systems, I am saying that organisations need to understand the world of digital cloud IoT services. This is no longer something that is going to happen in the future. It is happening now.

Most traditional telecare systems in the UK are still on analogue, with the majority of these struggling as they continue to try and keep up. So, we are in an emerging situation where because of the ever-increasing digital call handling systems that are available now, if the old don’t evolve, we could see them slowly disappear. I’m sure they will say “Not us!” but just pause for a moment to remember Palm, CompaQ, Blackberry ,Nokia, Kodak, Polaroid, Blockbuster video… to name a few. Failure to evolve with the emerging technology could spell failure in itself

One of the primary advantages of digital technology is the security that it can provide. This cannot be matched by its traditional counterparts. Designed and overseen by digital infrastructure and design specialist that understand cyber-security systems, who can continually monitor all end-to-end systems to ensure security and encryption is constantly in place, elevates digital telecare solutions to best in class status. When we talk end-to-end, this does not just relate to the system, it means end-to-end of the complete process from device; communication; IOT platform and call monitoring system. Again, this is an area where many traditional technology providers are either unable or unwilling to keep up and are failing.

As people are learning, it is critical to get the right expert advice in order to move forward and deliver a better, more connected care system. We need to bring the care network together while ensuring we are ever aware of the problems that can occur with aging technology. The traditional systems being used across Europe and the UK must be alert, ready to change and tighten up their game when linking to Internet of Things (IoT) providers to ensure that end-to-end encryption.

To achieve this security, it is important to do your homework and to not just go to the big AWS, Azure IoT platforms (as good as they are). Invest time to look for the specialist in your field – those who can work with you, to help you. We can do this by working together and by using the best skills set for the job.
Once secure digital care is connected up, the rich data that is collected can be used to help benefit the VIP, help Social Care providers, and their family and future generation. This data can also help to develop and deliver better connected care. Additionally, it helps reduce the cost of care, by supporting more people to live independently – no more confining people within their 4 walls with a button alarm that only works in the home. Quality of life will be enhanced by giving VIP the means and the independence to live the life that they choose.

Today Social Care is a costly business, we are all living longer, we all know the problems, so let’s help by driving change together to achieve better outcomes.
In these few short months, the world has changed, and digital technology is a key part of that. Adapting to the new has always meant survival in the history of this planet, so we must endeavour to commit to adapt and evolve to ensure that connected care not just survives, but thrives as we look to the future.