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Part One: Why Cloud Service are revolutionising Technology Enabled Care (TEC)?

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Many industries have been benefitting from cloud technology for the last decade and as consumers we have been reaping the improvements in service, choice and experience. Rather obliviously cloud services are operating around us and impacting our daily lives, just this morning I have accessed my online banking, and tracked a delivery on route to a nearby street. All of this is thanks to the cloud, which I explained in a previous post.

Cloud Services have been around for over a decade, they are well established and the driving force behind many organisations. In 2017, the UK Government launched their cloud first policy, a direction for those procuring services to always consider and review cloud-based services first. And in, 2018 NHS Digital followed suit with their cloud-first approach.

In the Technology Enabled Care sector we have been in the midst of one revolution, moving from analogue to digital. And, it is this move to digital that has paved the way for cloud.

Embracing digital was always going to open a world of possibilities…

To deploy digital TEC services suitable for the UK’s upgraded digital telecoms network there is a requirement to utilise cloud services. When Appello launched Smart Living Solutions, the UK’s first digital telecare service in 2016 we moved away from an on-premise approach to a clouding hosted solution.

Since then we have been expanding our use of cloud. The TSA predicted this shift towards a greater use of cloud when setting their forecast for 2020, but no one could have foreseen how the next 12 months would pan out! However, the events of this year have only reaffirmed the need to move to cloud and the latest TSA report ‘The Response and Redesign of TEC Services During Covid-19’ emphasises the necessity for providers to embrace cloud services.

By moving the delivery of services into the cloud the capabilities and possibilities expand exponentially. Over two blogs we will look at some of the tangible benefits of cloud within Technology Enabled Care and how it can enable housing and care providers to deliver a better, safer experience for their customers.

Security

It is wise to start with security as the concept of customer data being held in a cloud as opposed to onsite may raise concern, the reality is that this is a much safer solution.

Public Cloud Services, such as those hosted by Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services etc. are operated by huge organisations whose full-time focus is delivering secure software applications. This is their primary focus compared to a conventional in-house solution, supported by a team splitting their focus between security and the trouble Dave in sales is having with his new laptop!

As an industry we are working with personal information, ensuring it is rigorously secure is paramount to the credibility and reputation of any business. The assurance that a data centre brings gives providers and end users confidence in the

Mobility

We have enjoyed easy and instant access to our favourite services like music and books on-the-go regardless of location or device for some time. We have also appreciated the capability to access our work emails or files remotely, however this has not been the case with TEC.

Anywhere access: Cloud enables employees to work remotely whilst having visibility of what is happening within developments. For housing providers looking to implement greater flexibility for remote working, they can do so with the reassurance that service levels will not be impacted due to a lack of information.

For those looking to have a team of staff managing multiple sites; they have the ability to see information relating to multiple locations no matter where they are that day.

Any device access: This information is not limited to specific devices or computers, cloud means that even from a mobile phone, staff can quickly check on the happenings onsite.

Accessibility

Beyond being able to view data anywhere, is the capability to make changes to that information which can have a significant safety implication.

Not that long ago, if I needed to update my details with the bank, I was required to go into branch, give them a call, or even with some information confirm by post! Imagine doing this for the data of thousands of residents whereby their important information, such as medications can change frequently. Well that has been the reality, and as a result of such a laborious task often important details are out of date.

Thankfully, in the same way that I can now directly update my bank information online and it immediately updates  their system, cloud has meant the same for TECS.

So, even whilst sat next to Mrs Smith enjoying a cup of tea, you can update her information, and know without delay that information is instantly updated and in the event of an emergency is up to date.

Greater access and control of data are benefits that everyone involved in the delivery of TEC will recognise as significant steps to making improvement to the lives of customers. In my next post I will look at how the cloud is making changes to how housing providers are delivering their Technology Enabled Care services.

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