As a business we needed to consider how we could continue to operate effectively; our manufacturing unit continued to run throughout this pandemic with appropriate measures in place including social distancing, regular cleansing regimes, staggered attendance, temperatures checks, amongst others.
We successfully managed to transfer all our back-office functions to home working and for our field engineers we have adapted our risk assessments and method statements.
For our Business Development Managers, we have embraced video calling like so many now, providing remote training, product demonstrations and continued support.
Initially we received numerous requests to enable alarm receiving call centres to rapidly re-deploy staff to home in a secure and resilient way. We have supported wherever possible, deploying and configuring technology remotely, the creation of a number training videos to help call centre operations, introduce new operators, those operating remotely and for our reassurance call and reminder modules.
Thereafter, we saw a significant increase in demand for our new Reach IP digital home hubs which can be deployed more easily – they are largely plug and play - and then remotely configured and managed via the cloud. The correct operation and performance of the home hub can be seen via the cloud-based portal.
One particular use is in support of those being discharged from hospital to home with an alarm home hub to give immediate access to help if it is needed. Previous, to Covid-19 this activity may have required installers and advisers visiting the person at home.
For sheltered accommodation we have seen digital units being deployed to provide resilience for those shielding and not able to accept an engineer visit. So much so that we have now seen sales of our digital alarm units overtake those of the traditional analogue device.
On the nurse call side our business this has understandably been impacted by Covid-19 especially provision into care homes with a reduced number of installations but our service and maintenance operations continue.
Fighting back against Covid-19
But we have been supporting the increase in NHS capacity for hospitals by providing pre-configured systems to enable ward expansions and bringing new wards coming into operation. Also, we have been installing our systems into the new Nightingale field hospital facilities including the Dragon’s Heart field hospital in Cardiff, Liverpool and Exeter.
One example of many, we received to an enquiry on a Tuesday evening back in early April for a Nightingale project, reviewed the specification provided a quotation, received the order next day, were on site the day after and completed the installation by the Saturday afternoon and successfully handed the system over to the NHS.
A digital future
It has been an extremely busy period, much more so than we would normally have been the case, I am extremely proud of how all our teams have stepped up and responded to the needs of our customers in the fight against Covid-19. Let’s hope that this Covid-19 virus continues to be brought under control, but it is very likely that the accelerated shift to digital will continue given the benefits it offers in rapid, remote deployment and configuration.
It is important that we recognise the part digital must play in helping manage and should there be a resurgence in the winter of Covid-19 ensure we have used this intervening period appropriately in accelerated programmes.