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Stuart O'Brien

How digital telecare poses an opportunity for facilities managers

Tim Barclay, Chief Executive Officer at Appello

There is a digital revolution taking place in the UK today, as the telecommunications infrastructure shifts from analogue to digital. By 2025, analogue telephony, which support vital capabilities like lift alarm lines or telecare systems, services will be switched off entirely. This poses certain challenges for facilities managers working with housing providers, but it will in turn offer huge opportunities too.

For example, warden call systems have seen no real innovation for 25 years and are unlikely to work well, if at all, after the migration by the nations telecoms providers to a digital IP network over the coming years.

This is causing facilities managers and housing providers to review the options to keep their customers safe and well, and in doing so take the opportunity to improve their lives.

The implementation of digital telecare equipment provides many opportunities to increase the wellbeing of residents in supported housing, as well the efficiency of a facilities manager. That’s because those roles often revolve around three main points which the best digitals systems can really help with – how to improve safety, security, and social inclusion for residents – how to improve safety, security, and social inclusion for residents.

Safety

With digital systems the safety benefit is two-fold. Firstly, on an analogue system you can only put one call through at a time, so if someone requires entry at a front door and a resident pulls their cord in an emergency situation at the same time, they’ll be put in a queue until the door entry is completed. Digital systems can accept multiple calls so there’s no queuing, meaning emergency calls will be picked up right away. Secondly, the response time is a lot faster – current connection times for analogue telecare systems are around 60 – 90 seconds for the call to be connected, for digital it’s only 3 seconds. This significant improvement can mean the difference between life and death in a critical situation.

Maintenance

From a continuity of service point of view, digital systems provide a much greater insight into the health of the system. They are constantly monitored with a heartbeat from the system produced every few seconds to confirm that its performing. Whereas analogue systems leave you in the dark as to how they are performing, it may not be until and an emergency that you realise the system isn’t working properly.

This also puts the maintenance onus on the manufacturer, instead of relying on site staff to detect and report issues. Digital systems allow for remote diagnostics and repairs, resulting in greater efficiencies in maintenance – roughly 60 per cent of faults can be repaired this way – and problems are often rectified within minutes.

Greater system insight from digital systems to site staff can also improve the efficiency of the service as many digital systems integrate with a real-time platform for the management of the on-site equipment. This shows the health of every piece of equipment in the system, including the battery life of personal alarms which can be monitored, so facilities managers have an early warning to change them.

Social inclusion

Modern digital systems are also easy for residents use, and some include a wall mounted tablet that allows residents to access a myriad of digital services and video communications. This offers a new opportunity for housing providers and facilities staff to add value through increased social inclusion at the touch of a button.

Currently, most housing providers offering sheltered accommodation to older people, only provide internet access in communal areas. However, some digital telecare systems now offer a built in Wi-Fi router, meaning residents have internet access in their rooms, and are able to use the internet as they please – increasing feelings of social inclusion.

Security

Digital systems offer video door entry, offering peace of mind for the resident as they will be able to visually identify every caller before they enter the property. This can also be used by staff on site, so if an unknown pedestrian tries to get through the gate, they can be identified, and prevented from entering if needed, all via a video link.

Do I need to do this right away?

Whether providers are ready or not, the switch is already happening. In October last year, the Telecare Services Association (TSA) released a white paper: A Digital Future for Technology Enabled Care, warning of the disruption that the replacement of the current Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) networks with Internet Protocol (IP) telephony would cause amongst technology enabled care (TEC) providers, stakeholders and the 1.7 million vulnerable people who rely on telecare in the UK. The TSA commented, “Technology enabled care, particularly telecare and telehealth, plays an increasingly important role in health and care. Yet it is threatened by disruption as UK telecommunications shift from analogue to digital.” Despite the difficulties we are presented with, could it be better to instead rise to the challenge?

Digital is inevitable and taking steps now to review your equipment is essential to staying ahead of the curve and keeping residents safe. It’s worth enquiring with your telecare provider about their plans for delivering the safety and wellbeing benefits described above.

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

RENEWABLE HEAT ENERGY: Incentive Scheme Set to End

By Onsite Energy

If you use hot or warm water (or cooling) within your operations, and are interested in reducing your carbon footprint or in using renewable energy, you need to have until 31 March 2021 to benefit from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) subsidies.

This subsidy provides a “per kWh” financial contribution for installed qualifying technologies, which helps to reduce the payback time.  The subsidy is paid for 20 years and increases annually in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). The technologies that can qualify include solar thermal,  heat pumps (ground, air and water source), biomass boilers, deep geothermal and biogas combustion.

We can offer a CAPEX-FREE SOLAR THERMAL, using a leading British solar thermal technology, for less than the cost per kWh you are paying presently for gas or electricity.  The heat supplied is metered and installation is simple.   An installation of 150 kW (which is around 450m2) would produce around 190-200,000 kWh of heat annually in UK – at 45oC-60oC – the equivalent of over 100,000 showers.

This is ideal for swimming pools, hotels, sport facilities, healthcare facilities and companies with a year round demand for hot water (for instance food manufacturing)

We can also help specify and install qualifying heat pumps.

If you would like to know more, pls email us at info@on-site.energy or call on 0161 444 9989.

Onsite Energy Projects provides energy savings and energy generation solutions to energy intensive businesses, without capex if required.

Enable safer machine interventions with Lockout/Tagout from Brady

Everywhere you want to go with your Lockout/Tagout programme, Brady can guide and support you. Our complete 4-in-1 Lockout/Tagout solution includes:

  • innovative SafeKey padlocks: achieve the safest Lockout/Tagout procedures during maintenance operations. With 100 000+ unique keys, the locks can support large, company specific key hierarchies in which no 2 locks can be opened with the same key.
  • dedicated lockout devices: our wide range of devices can block any energy source to neutralise machinery and increase intervention safety.
  • practical procedure software: easily introduce, approve or edit, scale and communicate machine-specific Lockout/Tagout procedures.
  • great Lockout/Tagout services: Brady engineers help identify energy control points on-site and write best practice machine specific lockout procedures.

Where do you want to take your lockout programme?

BRADY U.K.

Tel: +44 (0) 1295 228 288

csuk@bradycorp.com

 

New solutions, inspirational learning & unrivalled networking at the Total Security Summit

Register today for the Total Security Summit for the opportunity to meet with innovative suppliers who match your specific requirements.

30 & 31 March – Whittlebury Park, Northamptonshire

As one of our VIP guests, you’ll be joining just 60 other senior security professionals who are attending the event to network, learn and forge new business relationships.

Register for your complimentary guest pass today, for the opportunity to:-

• As one of our VIP guests, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted.
• You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops.
• Network with 60 other senior security professionals who share your challenges.
• Enjoy complimentary overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner.

To find out more, visit www.totalsecuritysummit.co.uk.

Don’t miss out! Just 2 free places left at the Facilities Management Forum

Don’t miss out! Register today for the Facilities Management Forum. It’s free for you to attend and could help you reduce your expenditure by matching you up with innovative suppliers who match your business requirements.

But we have just two complimentary guest places left, so register today to avoid disappointment. Here’s why you should attend:

  • As one of our guests, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops.
  • Network with other senior FM professionals who share your challenges.
  • Enjoy complimentary hospitality, including overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner.

Taking place on January 27th & 28th at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, the Facilities Management Forum provides a platform for new business connections.

But act swiftly! There are just two guest passes left – register today!

Health & Safety

Do you specialise in Health & Safety? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in January we’ll be focussing on Health & Safety. It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today. So, if you specialise in Health & Safety and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk. Here’s our full features list: Jan – Health & Safety Feb – Building Maintenance & Refurbishment March – Cleaning April – Total FM May – Energy Management June – Security Jul – Air Conditioning Aug – Waste Management Sep – Asset Management Oct – FM Software Nov – Business Continuity Dec – Fire & Safety Equipment  

Industry celebrates at the FM Christmas Party

The UK’s facilities management community came together last week at the FM Christmas Party, hosted by the team at the Facilities Management Forum and the FMJ.

What amazing night it was, made all the more special by a fantastic venue in the form of BEAT London – First opening its doors in 1966 as The Speakeasy Club, BEAT London continues to provide an after dark haven for those who share an interest in music and society.

The venue was fondly known as the Speak, and housed the likes of Van Der Graff Generator, Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Jimmy Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Pink Floyd & King Crimson to name a few.

And now it can add 150 FM executives to that roll call!

But we couldn’t have done it without the support of our fantastic FM Christmas Party event partners:

Headline Partner

Drinks Partner

Event Partners

 

Competition Partner

 

We wish every single one of our readers a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Increasing uncertainty ‘placing strain on UK business leaders’

UK business leaders are struggling to cope with the pressures of a rapidly changing world, with increased competition, political uncertainty and greater scrutiny all making it much tougher at the top.

That’s according to a study of 1,000 workplaces published in Thinking On Your Feet, a report by the commercial arm of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, RADA Business, which found that 81% of senior leaders said they were often placed in situations where they found it difficult to remain calm.

More than a third (37%) of senior managers, directors and C-Suite said that high-pressure scenarios made it harder to prepare and express their thoughts.

When asked what situations affected their ability to relax and act authentically, 31% of business leaders admitted that board meetings with very senior people was a leading factor. Video conference calls (30%) was found to be one of the second biggest causes of nervousness faced in the workplace, followed by training sessions (30%).

Small group meetings (27%) was also a big issue hindering leaders’ abilities to think clearly and act authentically, with telephone conference calls appearing next on the list (27%).

The study also reveals that leaders struggle to exhibit an air of calm when they feel under pressure, with not maintaining eye contact (30%) slouching (25%), and physically shaking (21%) being identified as the most common physical side effects.

As a result, many leaders seek extra training and guidance on how to successfully adapt to change and proactively alter their management style to respond to changing scenarios.

Rachel Griffiths, Client Director at RADA Business, said: “In any given moment, on any given stage, it is the role of a leader to create and sustain a genuine connection with their audience. It is this powerful leadership performance, rather than an outstanding PowerPoint presentation, that encourages people to follow you and make positive change.

“Maintaining leadership performance through times of uncertainty demands a greater need to remain present, to align your physical, emotional and intellectual state. This is particularly challenging in the moment when you find yourself needing to think on your feet.

“Under pressure, leaders tend to focus on the content of what they’re saying, losing their personal connection with others, as well as an awareness of how they’re coming across. In the eyes of their audience, they can lose credibility by speeding up their breathing and appearing tense, with no vocal presence – showing a lack of confidence.

“Actors practice improvisation to develop their ability to give their strongest performance in the moment. When leaders become proficient in the same practice, they become able to manage their state, remain connected and develop a deeper level of resilience and self-reliance in their leadership.’’

Total Security Summit: New solutions, inspirational learning & unrivalled networking

Register today for the Total Security Summit. It’s FREE for you to attend and could help you reduce your expenditure by matching you up with innovative suppliers who match your requirements.

30 & 31 March – Whittlebury Park, Northamptonshire

As one of our VIP guests, you’ll be joining just 60 other senior security professionals who are attending the event to network, learn and forge new business relationships.

Register for your complimentary guest pass today.

• As one of our VIP guests, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted.
• You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops.
• Network with 60 other senior security professionals who share your challenges.
• Enjoy complimentary overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner.

Don’t miss out! Register today!

Grab the last three places at the Occupational Safety & Health Forum

Due to high demand, we have just 3 complimentary guest passes remaining for the Occupational Safety & Health Forum.

It’s free for you to attend and could help you reduce your expenditure by matching you up with innovative suppliers who match your business requirements.

Here’s why you should attend:

  • As one of our guests, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops
  • Network with 60+ other H&S professionals who share your challenges
  • Enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments

You’ll be joining representatives from the likes of:

Amey
Atlas FM

Eddie Stobart
Fremantle Trust

Grand Union Housing Group
Homebase

Kier Utilities & Rail
McLaren Construction
Nissan
Nuffield Health
Post Office
SecuriGroup
Stansted Airport
Taylor Woodrow
Tesco
The FA

The Walt Disney Company
Thrive Homes
Unipart

Volvo Truck and Bus
Weatherbys

Willmott Dixon

Secure one of our last remaining guest passesHERE.