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The 6 key things to ask your digital supplier

As telecare services move towards the digital age, we understand it can be a time of uncertainty, and you may not know the best way to proceed.

November 24, 2022

Digital solutions

It is important to maximise the advantages that digital solutions can offer and find the correct service that delivers on all requirements. However, achieving this outcome may seem challenging, particularly if you are at the start of your digital journey and are understandably cautious around the best approach to take when sourcing equipment.

It’s essential for all involved to review the bigger industry picture, whether as a commissioner balancing the needs of service users, the capability of their legacy equipment or the increasing demands on their budget, or as a telecare manufacturer / supplier with the responsibility for supporting their customers with the best “fit for purpose” solutions.

Since the move to digital is now unavoidable, the most important challenge is to ensure, as commissioners, you can choose the best digital solution, one that balances your unique needs with the wider advantages that digital brings to both your customers and organisation.

Being a technology-agnostic provider and a company that shares the same customer base as many of our corporate clients, Taking Care is in a unique position to understand the issues as you start your digital journey.  To help we have drawn together the key questions we ask when assessing technology suppliers on behalf of ourselves and our customers. If you are starting your analogue to digital (A2D) journey, the following questions could be a useful checklist or briefing document to help inform your commissioning choices:

The 6 key things to ask your potential digital supplier - S.E.R.I.A.L

  1. Securitywhat security provisions do you have in place?

With increased data being transmitted through the system, the question around robust security measures is vital. The two key standards are VPN (Virtual Private Network) and TLS (Transport Layer Security). As different manufacturers use different encryption techniques and various ARCs (Alarm Receiving Centre) work with assorted security protocols, how your supplier handles the question of security is vital.

  1. Experiencecan you demonstrate previous digital experience to support our A2D journey?

As things become more technical involving more parties (installers, digital scheme manufacturers, connectivity/encryption providers, 24/7 monitoring and platforms), engineers who may have extensive analogue experience will need a new range of digital skills. Can your potential supplier evidence these new required competencies, and how will they work with you and your ARC provider to ensure a seamless transition in service?

  1. Resilience – what business continuity plans do you have in place in the event of a network failure /continuity incident / trigger?

Along with the benefits of digital come more potential points of failure, so having clear answers to the questions around handling resilience is critical - for example, in a power cut most alarm units have a battery backup, but the rest of the system may not. Roaming SIMs may also have benefits but are not sufficient as a standalone option.

  1. Integration to ARCswhich live CONFIRMED ARC integrations do you have?

Confirming connectivity in a test environment is not sufficient – the true test requires real-world signal delivery. In this case one size doesn’t fit all. Success is dependent on configurations of both digital scheme equipment / internet and ARC, as well as allowing sufficient testing time for any installation.

  1. Alternativesare there any other digital options you could recommend?

Challenge your manufacturer to provide alternative options that might be a better fit for you. Even if your service was entirely hard-wired in the past it doesn’t mean this is necessarily the best fit for the future. For example, could a digital bridge help you to deliver services and extend the life of your legacy analogue equipment?

  1. Long term partnershipshow would you support us as a partner in our long-term digital journey? What evidence can you provide?

Without doubt the digital landscape will change and it’s important to choose partners who are well positioned to keep you updated on developments. Whether that’s manufacturers, digitally enabled ARCs or installers, you should choose to work with partners which have both the technical and commercial expertise to support you with your future digital strategy.

It’s important to remember you’re in control

It is important to have a clear understanding of the key features your digital telecare solution should deliver to ensure it meets your requirements, desired outcomes and service users’ needs. It is for the manufacturer to explain exactly how they will deliver what you require. Being able to question their ‘real life’ readiness and asking for certified examples, site visits and case studies will provide reassurance as to their reliability and put the control and confidence firmly back into your hands.

Do you need help with your analogue to digital journey?

Whether you’re at the start of your digital journey or further into your A2D transition we are here to help. If you have a specific project in mind or would like to discuss your options, please get in touch with one of our Taking Care Corporate Team on 0800 085 8037 or