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Analogue to digital switchover: is innovation just about products?




0​3 November 2023

Analogue to digital switchover: is innovation just about products?


The challenges of the digital switchover will not be solved by product innovation alone. This article aims to show that innovation (solving problems in new and better ways) is equally important in other areas of Technology Enabled Care (TEC) service provision.

The transition from analogue to digital telecare – What do we know so far?

An important milestone on the transformation to a full IP communication infrastructure was reached in September 2023 when Openreach announced they had stopped selling any new analogue phone lines. Over the last few years, the majority of the technology enabled care supply sector have been ensuring that they have products available for the new network that meet the requirements of existing service provision models.

Challenges of the analogue to digital telecare switchover

This article will address a significant challenge for TEC providers on their switchover journey that has received little attention namely funding and the supply model.

Traditionally, in the UK, most providers replace a percentage of their stock with new products each year and over a fairly long life cycle. In stark contrast the switchover is requiring providers to replace all their analogue stock over a very short period of time and therefore they need a substantial lump of capital to invest. This suggests a move from regular capital expenditure over time to a model that requires intermittent large capital investment both now and presumably in the future when all the new digital equipment reaches end of life and needs replacing. In addition, unlike the slow moving analogue TEC world, the pace of digital change and transformation is continuing to increase, for example, focus on joined up interoperable services, which means the risks and consequences of obsolescence are also increasing.

On top of that capital funding is in short supply. Local Authority funding used for Social Care remains severely constrained, for example ADASS budget survey. Housing providers are seeing weakening financial positions (Here) and hoped for new central government funding for the switchover has not been forthcoming.

Introducing Access TEC

We have responded to feedback from customers across the UK who have described their needs and the challenges they face. Today we would like to introduce you to the new and innovative Access TEC subscription model.

A subscription model is a regular payment over a fixed time period that enables access to a service. Familiar examples include Netflix, Spotify, Prime, a mobile phone or broadband contract. Subscription models are not only common in the consumer world but also in the business world for example Office 365, phone systems or even the purchase of jet engines!

In essence, subscription business models focus on the way services are billed so that a single customer pays multiple payments for prolonged access togoods or service instead of a large upfront one-time price. The focus shifts from a buy/sell/ acquisition/transactional model to partnership/ service quality/retention/relationship model.

The Access TEC subscription model can include a combination of hardware (e.g. Assure Home hubs, telecare sensors, Oysta products and other sensors ) and services ( e.g. connectivity, security, insight, dashboard, app, upgrades, support) paid for over an agreed term. We currently offer a choice of three different services, Protect-alarm only, Prevent – preventative services and Predict- providing alarm and preventative services, over timescales of up to 5 years.

This subscription model forms the latest element of a new approach to TEC that addresses todays needs across the care and support continuum, as illustrated below.



What are the benefits of a subscription/service model?

  • Makes your funding go further as you can buy more with a lower initial outlay.
  • Financially efficient as the whole of life costs via a subscription model are typically lower than a capital and digital service model.
  • Smooths out service funding requirements between years making it much easier to budget and plan.
  • Enables a shift from a hardware based model to one that is focussed on services and outcomes.
  • Able to easily upgrade (e.g. add a preventative service), extend or renew your subscription (e.g. with hardware refresh).
  • Reduces complexity
  • Mitigates the risk of owning digital hubs that have been superseded or have passed their sell by date. (think Windows XP equivalent!)
  • Creates stronger relationships, and greater value, as it encourages a supplier partnership approach rather than buyer/vendor relationship.


If the subscription model is so good why haven’t we seen this before in the TEC sector?

  • The analogue to digital switchover is a unique event and has created a customer need that has never been seen before on such a scale across the UK
  • Traditional equipment suppliers have a vested interest in maintaining their current supply/commercial models based on transactional hardware sales.
  • Suppliers need a very strong balance sheet to be able to support a subscription based model, particularly at the start.
  • Ideally, suppliers wouldn’t go down this route at scale without any previous experience.
  • The digital maturity of the health/care and support sector is still increasing relative to other more digitally mature industry sectors.

Further advantages of subscription services include

  • Scalability- Subscriptions enable organisations to scale their services without significant upfront costs.
  • Predictable costs making it easier to budget and improve long term financial planning
  • Better access to up to date technology with the opportunity to replace hardware at the end of the subscription term.
  • Maintenance and updates – Many subscription models include maintenance, support, and regular updates. This can reduce the burden on local authorities and housing providers to manage technical aspects to ensure their service is up to date and secure.
  • Compliance and Security – A subscription model can include compliance features and security measures to meet legal requirements and keep personal data safe and secure.

Summarising the importance of the subscription model in TEC

In conclusion, innovation in the TEC sector is not just about products but also the way things are done. Using digital technology across the TEC sector is creating a huge number of opportunities to transform services to benefit all stakeholders but the need to switchover between analogue and digital on tight timescales is creating challenges. Assure TEC as a subscription uniquely address these challenges and offers a new route to improved outcomes.

We recognise the urgency around the analogue to digital switchover, if you would like to know more now, please contact us today

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