Instant response time thanks to BR24 ‘digitsation’

We caught up with Property Operations Manager, Sam MacKenzie to discuss the transformations which have occurred in Digital Telecare.

Based in Bield’s Glasgow Office, Sam was part of the original project team that originated in 2016 to move all of the Telecare Systems from Analog to Digital, with funds additionally coming from the Scottish Government to aid the transition.

Sam’s role was to keep up with digital advancements and figure out how these can be implemented into developments across the country to give end to end connectivity, around the clock.

The main transformation was to make BR24 a digital alarm receiving Centre to increase effectiveness, sound quality, reliability and time of response.

BR24 (Bield Response 24) is an innovative service which aims to enable customers to live as independently as possible via emergency pull cord monitoring, personal alarm units, daily contact service and out of hour repairs to name a few.

Before the team was constructed, the alarm signals to and from BR24  were analog - it would take around 57 seconds to reach the operator and if another person in the development pulled the cord at the same time they would be put into a queue.

Now, through digitisation of the service, multiple signals get through to BR24 using the internet meaning hundreds of messages can reach an operator at the one time as there are now multiple lines of communication – making the response to messages nearly instant.

Everything is now faster and there are more path ways to get information to the BR24 team which in turn helps to get a quick response to those in need.

The system now also has a backup in case the internet fails. Similar to a phone sim card, the BR24 digital line will kick start their remote platform if there was an outage, to ensure no communication is missed or delayed.

The team has grown from four to 10 members of staff and contractors and is only going to increase with further technology and digital developments.

Around 3,700 properties have been upgraded to the new digital connectivity with a further 17-1800 to complete over the next two years.

The demand for BR24 services has seen more than 50 external clients from across Scotland sign up to the service, which accounts for around 38,200 individuals who vary from employers of lone workers to organisations who care for those with additional support requirements. Bield’s housing development portfolio itself only accounts for 5,500 of the alarm users.