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Appello launch cloud application DigitalBridge, enabling housing providers to take first steps to digital TEC

Appello has announced the launch of its cloud hosted convertor application, DigitalBridge, allowing customers to improve safety by diverting analogue Telecare alarm calls to the Appello Cloud where they are converted into digital calls.

Analogue Telecare devices have several short-comings, but one of the most concerning is that the age of the protocol scripts (originally designed 30-40 years before modern IP-based digital telephony was fully conceived) means they sometimes struggle to navigate modern Telecoms networks.

An estimated 10% of Telecare calls* experience first-time call failures because the time to traverse the networks on the route from the device to the monitoring centre will exceed the duration defined by the protocol standards. This causes the call to time-out, reset and redial to connect to the monitoring centre.

As analogue Telecare calls already typically take 20-90 secs to reach a monitoring centre, these call failures further elongate the time it takes calls to reach an operator, resulting in significant delays in vulnerable service users receiving the emergency response required.

The traditional view has been that there is little a monitoring centre can do to avoid these call failures (as it happens before it reaches them), apart from encouraging their customers to move to full digital Telecare solutions.

However, at Appello we want to go beyond the traditional and set the highest standards for safety and wellbeing in the industry so have created the Appello DigitalBridge to significantly reduce the chance of a failed call.

This innovative cloud-based application collects any assigned analogue Telecare call at the nearest telephone exchange where our technology ensures the analogue protocol is translated into the appropriate British Standards approved digital signalling. These digital protocols are specifically designed for the upgraded UK telecoms network and allow secure passage of the call to the monitoring centre. This mitigates the risks associated with emergency call failures and therefore takes significant strides in increasing the safety of service users.

Many housing providers have embraced new digital Technology Enabled Care equipment recognising the much wider safety, security and wellbeing benefits beyond overcoming call failure rates. However, analogue equipment is still commonplace, as organisations implement transformation projects. DigitalBridge is an application to aid that transition.

On the launch of DigitalBridge, Tim Barclay, CEO at Appello commented, “We are always focussed on the safety of the most vulnerable in our society, this was the driver behind the development of our market leading digital telecare service Smart Living Solutions (SLS). Ever since we launched it back in 2016, those customers who have made the switch to SLS have recognised the huge benefits and opportunities in resident safety and wellbeing that their investment has delivered.

However, we recognise that not every housing provider can make that transition to digital Telecare yet, or that some are on a transformation programme over a few years. We are therefore excited to launch Appello DigitalBridge to increase end-customer safety, by nearly eradicating first-time call failures and improving their user experience through a much better audio experience.”**

Please note, although DigitalBridge increases safety by reducing the risk of delayed emergency calls through the increasing proportion of first-time call failures, it is important to be clear that it doesn’t overcome all the issues of analogue Telecare systems, for example: -

  • Those slow call set-up times of 20-90 seconds
  • That in a communal setting they typically work on a single line out, which means call queuing with no prioritisation ie: first call made gets answered first, even if that means a heart-attack is queuing behind a door entry call
  • There is no real-time, or near real-time monitoring of the device to assure its availability when needed is known
  • There is no value-added functionality like video-door entry and house manager, and resident, video calling.

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