| Digital Office | Scottish Local Government

Digital Telecare Comes to East Renfrewshire Council

Announcement. Digital Telecare. 29.11.2022

East Renfrewshire Council have announced that they are the first organisation in Scotland to deploy the Enovation UMO Cloud Alarm Receiving Centre Solution. Working collaboratively with the Digital Office Digital Telecare Programme, the team have delivered a major step forward in the analogue to digital telecare transition, well in advance of the analogue telephony switch off in December 2025. 

East Renfrewshire Council is the first in Scotland to go live with UMO, an alarm call handling solution from Enovation which is fully digital, highly resilient and hosted in the cloud. SafetyNet alarm receiving centre went live in September 2022 and has been successfully taking digital calls as part of the Council's journey to make all service user alarms fully digital. 

Most telecare alarm units currently summon help by dialling out through home telephone lines to call monitoring centres. All UK Communication Providers (BT, Virgin Media, Sky, etc.) are planning to switch-off the traditional analogue telephone as early as 2023. This will mean that the ordinary public switched telephone networks (PSTN) will be converted to digital IP connectivity by using a broadband router in the home. Ordinary telephone lines and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines utilised by monitoring centres to receive alarm calls will also be switched off. The Telecare team has already committed to ensuring all in-home alarm units will be replaced with digital SIM based devices to ensure that the switch off does not affect service users and so that the Council is fit for the future with a fully digital solution. 

To enable the Council to migrate its customers over to digital alarms, the alarm call handling solution needed to be changed to one that was able to receive digital calls from a wide variety of digital alarms without needing to use the soon-to-be-obsolete analogue or ISDN telephone lines. Working in conjunction with Enovation, their UMO solution has made this possible and will ensure further transitioning to digital is seamless for both telecare users and Council telecare support staff. UMO will also allow the traditional analogue alarm calls to continue to be received, for as long as the telephone networks allow. 

As part of the analogue to digital project, the team is continuing to react quickly to instances of forced migration by Communication Providers within alarm user homes. Those customers who do not have a phone line or decide to upgrade to digital packages are being supported in this process and to date over 300 telecare alarms have been upgraded from analogue to digital. 

With around 10% completed, the team will be working hard over the next 2 years to complete upgrades to digital units. 

Now that the Council's alarm receiving centre is digital, a gradual migration of telecare users from analogue to digital will be carried out on a planned basis. A strong focus is placed on detecting and prioritising any issues that start to occur with particular telephone providers, telephone exchanges or alarm units. 

The closer it gets to the national 2025 switchover date; East Renfrewshire Council is ensuring it is fit for the future by making sure telecare users are prepared with digital call handling and digital connected telecare devices within the home. 

Murray Husband, Head of Digital and Community Safety at East Renfrewshire Council, said: "It is extremely pleasing that East Renfrewshire Council is leading the way with this technology to ensure our residents continue to receive a seamless service following the digital switchover. The project team has worked tirelessly to implement this new digital solution and I am delighted that it's now successfully over the line. We will continue to work with residents to support this change in the months ahead".