A new focus on customer experience is sweeping through the aged care sector, ushering in intensified competition and a mandate for innovation. Read how Superloop helped one service provider seize competitive advantage using its remote networking solutions.

Aged care in Australia is undergoing significant changes and reforms initiated, in some part, by  the release of the Aged Care Roadmap in 2016.

In 2017 the year began with the advent of Consumer-Directed Care (CDC), meaning many institutions needed to re-evaluate their services to become more competitive, or lose to those that improve the customer experience. Experts are saying the reforms are far from over, with more needed to achieve a sustainable, consumer-led aged care market.

Aged Care Services Depend on Connectivity

Baby boomers, now either at or nearing retirement age, are more comfortable with online tools and expect to keep up-to-date with their active social lives, education and even hobby businesses in their post-working years.  In addition, services in aged care facilities are now more reliant on these than before.  We all know how much extra time we now devote to checking emails, updating social media, researching and purchasing online.  It’s the same for those young and old.

Gaining a competitive edge

The sector reforms mean service providers will need to either refresh service offerings, or face newcomers to the market with innovative ideas and service offerings as sophisticated buyers shop around in an increasingly competitive market.

According to KPMG, it is no longer enough to provide four walls, a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. Seniors want to be living life to its fullest and the communities created must enable this desire and work harder and smarter to keep their residents connected into the community to ensure quality of life throughout their time in care.

“The fastest growing organisations in the last three years are those that focus on enabling technology and the customer experience,” said Liz Forsyth, Global Lead for Human Services at KPMG.

Preparing for the Threat or Seizing an Opportunity

KPMG states in its Aged Care research that service providers in this sector will need to be prepared to innovate.

With so many older Australians already online, technology will play an increasingly crucial role in customer service, meaning new services, new products, new prices, new behaviours and new technologies.

One organisation that looked at providing a greater customer experience used BigAir’s remote network solution to provide a competitive edge.

For over 100 years, this organisation has provided services to the elderly and needy. They currently operate 20 self-care villages, 19 care hostels and four nursing homes throughout NSW and the ACT, caring for over 2200 citizens.

Their challenge was to connect 22 sites with a Data Network and Internet solution despite their often remote location. They were looking to deliver a highly reliable and fast telecommunications service that supports Cloud Computing and can scale for future requirements.

Overcoming the Rural Telecommunications Challenge

This organisations’ headquarters was in Sydney, however its sites are mostly located in regional NSW where other telecommunication services are slow, expensive or unavailable.

To overcome this challenge, the organisation deployed a Remote Networking Solution, building five new PoPs (Points of Presence) throughout regional NSW including Coffs Harbour, Tamworth and Newcastle.

The investment in infrastructure included new towers that allowed the organisation to prepare for future investments of sites, allowing it to scale. They now deliver power to all sites throughout the state with full redundancy, meaning if there was ever a power shortage, all sites would still be equipped to run smoothly for critical services.

The project also equips all sites with high speed internet connectivity including full protection from lightning and high speed winds, so the connection won’t be knocked out by storms which are on the increase across the Eastern Seaboard of Australia.

The organisation also planned for future expansion, with line of sight to antennas guaranteed. All equipment uses secondary power sources.

Solution Benefits

Superloop’s wide area network deployment provides the organisation with a multi layered system. The system uses Layer 2 Ethernet and Layer 3 MPLS systems which mean that there is network flexibility allowing inter-site connectivity for dedicated services such as VOIP and wireless hotspots.

These services allows the organisation to differentiate itself on both emergency and critical services, as well as providing a better customer experience for its residents by providing high speed, reliable internet connectivity for day-to-day services.

Having high bandwidth allowances and full redundancy gives the organisation the opportunity to expand their product offerings to the residents of the facilities. Now, not only are the residents provided with phone services, they also have the option of accessing a fully featured internet service via the deployed Wireless Access Points.

Plus, with the highly reliable connections, all the voice functions can now be migrated to a state of the art VOIP system that manages all aspects of voice communications throughout the customer facilities.

“As the deployment included the highest quality equipment and highest level of expertise, Superloop was able to guarantee a specific level of service to all the sites utilising their wireless technologies,” said a representative of the organisation.

“This allowed us to deploy their services to the sites with confidence that their Cloud-based platform will operate at peak efficiency.  Their deployment also allowed the wireless service to be scalable, which helps us budget our bandwidth requirements well into the future.”