Our telecare glossary provides a full section of different acronym and definitions from the telecare industry. The aim of this resource is to help our stakeholders to understand the various terminology used in the telecare industry and across our wide range of documentation published through our Digital Telecare Playbook. This is useful if you are unsure of something you have heard of when engaging with our team, reading our documentation or attending our events.
Access Point Name. A means of separating data traffic on mobile networks. An organisation’s data traffic can be kept within a dedicated APN to keep it separate from other data traffic on the mobile network, for example, other users’ Internet browsing.
Telecare Alarm Devices that use mobile network connections often use a dedicated APN in order to ensure separation of data traffic from other mobile network users.
Alarm Receiving Centre. The term can refer both to the location where telecare calls are answered, and the system on which calls are answered (for example Jontek Answerlink, Tunstall PNC, Enovation Umo, etc).
Analogue Terminal Adaptor. A device for connecting traditional analogue devices to a digital telephone system or a voice over IP telephony network.
ATAs can be integrated into internet routers, allowing analogue devices to be plugged into the router, or provided as a standalone device. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Analogue Telecare in a Digital World” document.
Calling Line Identifier. The technology that allows the phone number associated with an incoming call to be displayed. Within telecare this is often used by the Alarm Receiving Centre to identify the alarm device associated with an incoming alarm call.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities. The national association of Scottish councils.
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures. CVE is used as part of penetration testing to identify known cyber security vulnerabilities. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Security Assurance: Penetration Test Guidance for Telecare” document.
Common Vulnerability Scoring System. CVSS is used as part of penetration testing, providing an open framework for evaluating and communicating the severity of any identified cyber security vulnerabilities. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Security Assurance: Penetration Test Guidance for Telecare” document.
Distributed Denial of Service. A DDoS attack is a form of cyber-attack which attempts to make a digital service unavailable by overwhelming it with data traffic from multiple sources.
DDoS protection is one of the factors examined as part of the Digital Office’s Assessed Supplier Scheme. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Assessed Supplier List - Digital Telecare for Scottish Local Government” document.
Device Management Platform. A facility to monitor, manage and configure telecare alarm devices. Typically, each alarm manufacturer has a Device Management Platform specific to their alarm devices.
Demilitarized Zone. A part of a computer network that is separated from the rest of the networks. Typically, a DMZ will be used as an area to host or provide access to semi-trusted or non-trusted devices.
In digital telecare, a DMZ may be used as part of the security controls put in place to protect the ARC from alarm devices which connect over the Internet.
Data Protection Impact Assessment. A process to identify and manage the data protection risks associated with a project or change. Further details are on the Information Commissioners’ Office website: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/accountability-and-governance/data-protection-impact-assessments/ Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)” document.
Disaster Recovery. Arrangements put in place to ensure the continued operation of a service or solution.
In telecare, Disaster Recovery arrangements often include providing alternative office locations and equipment to ensure alarm calls can continue to be answered in the event of the primary facilities becoming unavailable or inoperable.
Digital Subscriber Line. A family of technology standards that provide broadband services over phone lines.
Digital Telecare programme.
Dual Tone Multi-Frequency. A signalling approach that sends messages as a series of combined audible frequencies (tones) over a telephone connection. The signalling protocols used by analogue telecare devices use DTMF (or a variant of them, such as STMF) to send messages between the alarm device and ARC.
DTMF does not run reliably over digital telephone lines.
Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “Failed Calls Data Guidance” document.
Distributor Take-back Scheme. A scheme retailers can join to manage WEEE (see definition below) waste and avoid setting up their own take back service. Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “Decommissioning of Telecare Equipment” document.
European Economic Area.
European Recycling Platform. Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “Decommissioning of Telecare Equipment” document.
Emergency Services Network. The government’s chosen option to replace the Emergency Services’ existing radio solution (Airwave) which provides communications between control rooms and the field.
The improvements in mobile telephone coverage as a result of the ESN rollout will also benefit other applications that rely on the cellular networks, including digital telecare.
Full Business Case.
General Data Protection Regulation. The legislation that defines data protection and privacy in the UK and EU.
Global Positioning System.
Global System for Mobile Communications. A standard used to describe the protocols used by cellular mobile devices and networks.
Health and Social Care Partnerships. The organisations formed as part of the integration Health Boards and Councils in Scotland.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol. An Internet protocol used to control data transfer to and from a server. Typically, this is used to obtain the content required to display webpages on a web browser.
Internal Acceptance Testing. Testing of a solution (for example a new digital telecare solution) that is completed using staff rather than ‘real’ service users. IAT is completed to ensure a solution is operating to acceptable levels prior to it being tested with service users (see also UAT). Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “A Guide to Planning for IAT and UAT” document.
Information Commissioner’s Office. The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
Information Governance Unit.
Internet of Things. Devices, such as sensors and smart devices, that connect to the Internet to exchange data.
Internet Protocol. The protocol used to send digital data over a computer network.
Digital telecare devices use Internet Protocol to communicate between alarm devices and the ARC.
Note that despite its name, Internet Protocol is used to send data over any computer network, not just the Internet (i.e. also including the private networks used by some organisations).
A digital grouped scheme signalling protocol. IPACS is a Tunstall proprietary protocol, rather than an open standard.
NHS Information Services Division. ISD Scotland provide health information, health intelligence, statistical services and advice that support the NHS in progressing quality improvement.
Integrated Services Digital Network. An international standard for end-to-end digital transmission of voice, data, and signalling.
In telecare, ISDN services are often used to provide the telephone connection to Alarm Receiving Centres.
Confusingly, although the definition of ISDN includes the word “digital” the service does not use Internet Protocol and so is being replaced as part of the process of upgrading the UK to digital (IP) phone lines.
ISDN services are being discontinued as part of the upgrade to digital phone lines and so must be replaced. This is usually with SIP services (see definition below).
Information Security Management System. A set of policies and procedures for systematically managing an organisation's sensitive data.
Telecare Supplier ISMS’s are examined as part of the Digital Office’s Assessed Supplier Scheme. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Assessed Supplier List - Supplier Security Questionnaire” document.
IT / ICT
Information Technology / Information and Communications Technology.
Information Technology Infrastructure Library. A library of best practices for managing IT services and improving IT support and service levels. https://www.axelos.com/best-practice-solutions/itil.
ITIL processes can be used to help manage digital telecare solutions, and the supporting IT infrastructure. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Technology Service Management” document.
Key Performance Indicator.
Local Area Network. A data network that provides connectivity within a building.
Low Earth Orbit. A (relatively) low altitude orbit used by some communication satellites.
Low Power Wide Area Network. LPWAN’s are one method of providing connectivity to Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Future Communications November 2020” document.
Long-Term Evolution. A mobile telephony standard which aims to provide increased speeds and capacity. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Future Communications November 2020” document.
National Cyber Security Centre. The UK government agency that provides advice and support to the public and private sector on cyber security and threats.
Next Generation Network. A term to describe telephone networks that carry phone calls and data in a digital form.
National Health Service.
Next of Kin.
NHS National Services Scotland.
Outline Business Case. Sets out the preliminary thoughts regarding a proposed project. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Formal Business Case” document.
Official Journal of the European Union. Publication in which all EU tenders from the public sector must be published. Use of OJEU in the UK has changed as a result of Brexit.
Platform-as-a-Service. A type of cloud computing service that provides an application-development platform to developers or organisations.
Producer Compliance Scheme. Part of the WEEE regulations for the disposal of electrical equipment.
Variant of the PESTLE analysis depending on which elements are included.
Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors. A strategic analysis tool used to identify, analyse, and organise key external factors that will affect an organisation, programme, or project.
Variants of PESTLE include, PESTEL, LEPEST, STEEP, STEEPLE and STEEPLED. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “PESTLE and SWOT Analysis” document.
Privacy Impact Assessment. Now replaced by DPIA (see definition above).
Piper Network Controller. Tunstall’s Alarm Receiving Centre solution.
Public Services Network. A network and associated security requirements that allows public sector organisations to securely exchange information.
Public Switched Telephone Network. The ‘traditional’ telephone network that is now being replaced with digital telephony.
A telecare signalling protocol.
Real-time Transport Protocol. A network protocol used for delivering audio and video over IP networks.
Telecare alarms using VoIP can use the real-time transport protocol to carry voice traffic to the Alarm Receiving Centre.
SAAS / SaaS
Software-as-a-Service. A method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers.
Some telecare suppliers are now offering their Alarm Receiving Centre solutions as a SaaS solution, often based on a per service user and/or per call handler monthly fee basis.
Social Care Alarm Internet Protocol. The Swedish digital alarm protocol commonly used by digital alarm devices. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “Digital Telecare Protocols” document.
Skills Development Scotland. Scotland’s national skills body.
Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Subscriber Identity Module. A SIM card identifies the user of a device connected to the mobile telephone network.
GSM telecare alarm devices contain a SIM card to allow them to connect to a mobile network. These SIM cards are often ‘roaming’ meaning that they can connect to any available mobile phone network.
The SIM cards provided with telecare alarm devices are specialised “M2M” or machine to machine SIMs, meaning that they are optimised to reliably carry data traffic between non-phone devices. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “A Beginners Guide to Digital Telecare” document.
Session Initiation Protocol. A signalling protocol used to set up and control real-time traffic calls, such as voice and video, over a data network.
In digital telecare SIP is used in three main ways:
- SIP based digital telephone lines are replacing traditional copper phone lines, such as ISDN.
- SIP is used by digital telecare protocols to carry signalling between the alarm device and the ARC.
- SIP is also used by digital alarm devices configured to use VoIP to set up and control the voice call to the ARC. Further information is contained in the following Playbook documents: “Analogue Telecare in a Digital World” “Digital Telecare System Topologies” “Digital Telecare Protocols”.
Service Level Agreement. Often used in service contracts to define the levels of performance that the supplier must meet.
System Security Plan. A document that outlines how an organisation implements security.
Variant of the PESTLE analysis (see definition above).
Variant of the PESTLE analysis (see definition above), which includes an additional assessment of Ethical factors.
Variant of the PESTLE analysis (see definition above), which includes an additional assessment of Ethical and Demographics factors.
Variant of the PESTLE analysis (see definition above).
Sequential Tone Multi Frequency. A Tunstall proprietary analogue telecare protocol.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Analysis that looks at all the internal (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) factors that may affect a project, programme or organisation. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “PESTLE and SWOT Analysis” document.
Technical Advisory Group. The group that oversees the Digital Office’s Digital Telecare Programme.
Technology Enabled Care.
Transport Layer Security. A protocol for securing communications on a data network.
User Acceptance Testing. Testing of a solution (for example a new digital telecare solution) that is completed by service users. UAT is typically completed after successful completion of IAT (see definition above) to ensure that the solution is operating to acceptable levels prior to it being tested with service users. Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “A Guide to Planning for IAT and UAT” document.
Unit Of Measure.
Uninterruptable Power Supply. A device that provides mains power to connected equipment in the event of a power cut.
User Requirement. Describes what a user does with the system, such as the activities the user must be able to perform.
Universal Service Bus. A standard for connections between computers and peripheral devices.
Virtual Local Area Network. A method of logically separating a computer network into sub-networks. Typically, this is used as part of security controls or to manage network devices / traffic.
Voice over Internet Protocol. Technical protocols used to send voice traffic as data over a network connection such as the Internet (or any other data network).
Some digital telecare solutions can send voice calls between the alarm device and ARC using VoIP. Given the amount of network bandwidth required to support VoIP calls (typically 80kbps per concurrent call) the telecare deployments that use VoIP tend to be restricted to those using fixed broadband connectivity, such as grouped schemes. However, dispersed alarms connected using 4G are also capable of supporting VoIP. Further information is contained in the Playbook’s “A Beginners Guide to Digital Telecare” document.
Voice over Long-Term Evolution. A technical standard used by some 4G mobile networks to carry voice calls over a data connection.
Virtual Private Network. A technology that allows data to be sent securely over a public network (such as the Internet). Privacy is maintained using data encryption.
In digital telecare VPNs are used to secure the connection between:
- The alarm device and the ARC in a scenario where fixed broadband connectivity is used.
- The mobile SIM provider’s network and the ARC in a scenario where mobile connectivity is used.
- VPNs may also be used to secure the connection between other elements of the solution.
Wide Area Network. A computer network that provides connectivity between buildings or organisations. For comparison see definition of LAN.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Legislation relating to the disposal of electrical / electronic waste. Telecare specific information is contained in the Playbook’s “Decommissioning of Telecare Equipment” document.