Macquarie Telecom has landed a project to upgrade the telecoms network and devices for aged care operator Southern Cross Care Western Australia (SCCWA), to help improve connectivity for its senior residents and staff.
The facility caters for more than 3,000 residents in the state and was faced with a few conflicting challenges of reducing operational costs while upgrading its technology and telecoms network, much of which was becoming obsolete, in order to help keep its residents digitally connected.
Already a Macquarie customer, the facility made the move to switch its mobile services from a 'tier one' provider to Macquarie, doubling its data allowance while reducing costs by up to 20 per cent.
Macquarie worked closely with SCCWA head of IT, Anirban Talukdar and his team to rebuild the network, which included replacing SCCWA’s old MPLS telecoms network with SD-WAN. Combined with National Broadband Network (NBN) migration where possible, the organisation estimates this will lead to cost savings of up to 25 per cent.
This resulted in improved internet reliability and doubled speeds from an average of 20-to-50Mbps to 100Mbps in most sites, enabling better access to digital services for staff and residents. In one facility SCCWA deployed the CareCohort mobile app, which provides staff, allied health providers, GPs, residents and family with important information and collaboration tools.
To manage costs and resilience, Macquarie and SCCWA identified priority sites (one, two and three), applying varying levels of backup to each. For example, priority one sites such as the central office at Rivervale where SCCWA’s primary data centre is located, features two geographically dispersed links and a 4G backup, whereas priority three sites have one link and 4G backup.
SCCWA head of IT Anirban Talukdar said Macquarie supplied tablets with 4G sim cards at residential aged care homes to facilitate video calls between residents and their families and also coordinated non-essential staff to work remotely with a combination of Citrix and Microsoft Teams.
SCCWA is also in discussions with Macquarie about leveraging its cloud and data centre services to increase the organisation’s use of automation and further drive its digital transformation.
“Right now, organisations across Australia are overspending on limited telco services at a time when they need value and innovation,” Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton said.
“Aged care providers are accustomed to operational and budgetary challenges, but it’s no secret the industry was among the worst affected by the pandemic. Almost overnight, providers needed to reimagine their operations to maintain high quality services, but also implement extensive social distancing and remove work measures to keep staff and clients safe.”