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How to keep your legacy equipment going beyond the digital switchover

There are many reasons to consider using existing analogue telecare equipment during the digital switchover. Taking Care recommend a sensible, risk-based approach.

January 09, 2023

Analogue telecare equipment

Many of us remember the concern approaching the year 2000 with the ‘millennium bug’ and the panic surrounding the potential damage this could cause to various infrastructures. In some respects, the 2027 digital switchover has been approached with the same caution, but is there really a need to panic?

There are many reasons to consider using existing equipment throughout your digital journey. At Taking Care we believe in a sensible, risk-based approach in moving from analogue to digital which includes reviewing how to utilise existing equipment during the transition.

What we know

BT Openreach is on a structured programme of rolling-out a fully digital/fibre line and telephone network by the end of 2027. This roll-out will be undertaken on an exchange-by-exchange basis and from 2023, newly built homes will not have a telephone socket. Communication providers are aware of the issue concerning vulnerable customers with analogue alarms, however there is not a definitive industry-wide approach about managing this issue.

Telecare providers are facing several challenges surrounding the digital switchover including how to budget for a whole or partial digital upgrade of telecare equipment, or how connectivity and interoperability in the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) sector could disrupt services. If you are at the start of your digital journey, keeping your legacy equipment going can be a sensible, risk-based approach.

Create a Digital Transformation Plan

We recommend creating a clear digital transition strategy involving departments across the organisation. Moving from analogue to digital TEC should be more than just replacing existing equipment on a like-for-like basis. It is an opportunity for a review of services to ensure the needs of the organisation and service users are being met. Having a clear vision of desired outcomes will help provide focus and keep plans on track.

Your core strategy could focus on any of the following:

  • Continuity of care
  • Innovation – maximising individuals’ independence and control
  • Ensuring signal resistance
  • Value for money
  • Security and resilience


Risk management

It’s important to risk assess the digital resilience of existing analogue units. Your manufacturer/provider should be able to provide test results from BT, Virgin, TalkTalk and Openreach to show how their solutions are performing. From those test results you will be able to risk assess specific units and prioritise actions.

We recommend setting up periodic test calls on your analogue units to ensure home units and the monitoring centre are in regular communication. Periodic test calls can provide a fail-safe by alerting the provider of any problems in failed recognition of alarm signalling over telephone line connections.

It is also important to analyse the reasons for call failures to help inform you about managing devices and their performance in digital environments. The key issue with the digital transformation is the way the tones are passed through the digital network. First-time call failure occurs when there is a problem with an analogue signal traversing the growing digital network. When reviewing the reasons for first-time call failures in areas that have already moved to digital, we have seen most issues have been connected to customer set-up and have not been due to the new network.


Educating your customers on digital services

We are always thinking of the service user when it comes to how we position our products. Unlike the television analogue switch off, the analogue to digital transformation impacting TEC is not widely known within the general population. To raise awareness, we have created badges for our products (featured on our website and marketing collateral) to make it simple to identify what the difference is between our digital alarms and landline (analogue) alarms. This way we provide transparency with our customers in relation to the costs associated with products and services. 

Digital alarms

Digital alarms are future proof and do not rely on a telephone landline. Digital Personal Alarms will not be affected by the switchover to digital telephone lines. All calls and data are included in the subscription.

Digital alarms

Landline alarms connect to a traditional telephone landline but have been tested in BT Openreach's laboratory with the leading telephone providers' digital networks to ensure maximum longevity. However, an upgrade fee may be required if the telephone provider makes a change in the future that affects the personal alarm

We have put together a Digital Switchover resource library to aid our customers throughout the transition.

Digital switchover resources


Keep updated and learn from others

To support a successful digital transition we recommend engaging with neighbouring authorities or housing associations going through the same exercise and sharing knowledge and research. Information is also available from TEC Services Association (TSA), equipment manufacturers, Ofcom, and telecoms providers.


Do you need help with your analogue to digital journey?

We are here to assist with any queries. If you have a specific project in mind or would like to discuss your options, please get in touch with one of our Corporate Team on: 0800 085 8037 or