From analogue to digital: are you ready?

Alyson Scurfield

September 20, 2017 3:40 pm

By Alyson Scurfield, TSA Chief Executive

By 2025, all analogue telephone services in the UK will be switched off and replaced by digital systems. Ofcom and telecommunications providers advise that systems relying on ‘voice-band data’, such as security and fire alarms, many cash terminals, AND telecare will be affected by this change.

Now that telecoms companies have started the migration process, the headaches for telecare are already being felt. It’s easy to see why. Most of the UK’s 1.7 million telecare units connect to one of the UK’s 240 monitoring centres via phone lines. If service providers don’t upgrade from analogue to digital in the next six years then many people could lose the technology that keeps them connected and safe, putting major pressure on health and social care services.

Yet action in the TEC sector is uncertain and slow. No large-scale upgrade programme has begun and many telecare providers are only just realising the impact this inevitable shift will have on their services.

As the national body for technology enabled care services, TSA wants the TEC sector, regulators and government to grasp the scale of this challenge but also the transformative opportunities it presents.

Moving from analogue to digital TEC could be about more than simple replacement. Is this a chance for a fundamental redesign of telecare using the power of digital? Cutting-edge health and care technologies offer opportunities for more informed, proactive and integrated care.

But there are as many challenges as there are opportunities. From interoperability problems to standards concerns, information security risks to funding needs; urgent action is needed to plan for digital migration and minimise disruption.

So, what should be done now by telecare service providers, commissioners, manufacturers, regulators and government?

TSA has been working with TEC leaders to create a White Paper that answers that question, summarising the challenges and opportunities posed by the digital shift. Visit TSA’s website to download your free copy of the White Paper in October.

Want to hear from telecoms and TEC experts about the action your organisation should be taking? Attend TSA’s International Technology Enabled Care Conference on 16-17 October 2017 to find out more.