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Why interoperability is so important in today’s digital Technology Enabled Care era

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The ability for a digital telecare device to be interoperable is a huge break-through within the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) industry. For decades, interoperability has not been possible in TEC equipment, forcing housing and care providers to throw away existing peripherals when needing to upgrade to new digital devices.

This year the TSA released a report on ‘Interoperability of Digital TEC Systems’, where they announced: “The interoperability of technology from different suppliers has been a challenge in most industrial sectors…We saw a major step forward on interoperability in the Technology Enabled Care sector on 4th February this year, when all the major and current suppliers to the sector committed to interoperability for digital TEC systems.”1

This is exciting news however the industry has seen little action on this statement, until now…

What is interoperability?

Interoperability enables different systems and devices to operate together to exchange and make use of data that can be communicated to and acted on by the intended user. This means that the previous industry’s ‘walled-garden’, where only one set of products works with one set of devices, can be knocked down and companies will have the ability to keep their current peripheral devices whilst upgrading additional technology.

How does interoperability work?

Due to the ongoing switchover from analogue to digital equipment, housing and care providers have been stepping up to the requirement to update all their analogue equipment to digital. However, this upgrade is predominantly focused on the alarm devices. With regards to dispersed alarms, the communication between equipment and the telecoms network is undertaken via the main base unit, which needs to talk to the telecoms network and monitoring centre using digital protocols.

However, the peripheral telecare devices, e.g. pendants, bed sensors etc. have no interaction with the telecoms network. These devices are designed to send a radio signal through to the base unit of the dispersed alarm. These radio signals can differ with each manufacturer, but through the use of interoperability, some devices can understand each peripheral’s radio signal from multiple manufactures.

This ability is part of Appello’s ethos, we recognised the importance of interoperability and have had a long-term desire to make this a reality. We have worked hard to enable our customers to maximise the life of their existing peripherals. We have implemented this ability in our new digital dispersed alarm, SmartLife.

SmartLife connects to the telecoms network digitally via Ethernet or 4G and has the unique capability to understand the radio signals of peripheral devices from multiple manufactures, including our own, Cair and Tunstall.

Benefits of interoperability

– Reduces cost for customers, as they don’t need to update their peripheral devices.

– Enables service providers to continue to use existing telecare peripherals, whilst making the required move to digital connectivity.

– Voids the environmental impact of throwing away devices just because they don’t connect with the new device.

– Service users feel comfortable continuing with devices they already know works.

Cair are one of our partners who provide radio devices for our SmartTEC range, Smart Living Solutions, SmartConnect and SmartLife. The Cair product range offers solutions to many challenges faced by those with additional needs, allowing them to stay safe, supported and connected through the use of smart technology. These products include, pendants, emergency push buttons, doorbell, window sensor and much more: https://we-cair.com

If you would like to learn more about Appello’s interoperable products, book a demo today: https://appello.co.uk/book-a-demo/.

Take a look at our SmartLife Video.


1 https://www.tsa-voice.org.uk/downloads/pdfs/interoperability_of_digital_tec_systems_february21-final.pdf

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