Questions for Aged Care’s Digital Decision

You can’t have a high-quality aged care experience without high-quality digital infrastructure. With 16% of the Australian population now aged 65 and older – a figure set to steadily rise for the extended future – the need for post-retirement care is only going to grow. And at the same time, aged care residents and their families want and need much more from their technology and digital services than they used to – from video calls to e-reading and even gaming. That trend will only continue as even more digital-literate generations grow older and seek out aged care residency.

Providers who invest in strong digital foundations can meet those changing expectations – not just in technology but also in an array of areas, from safety to holistic wellbeing. They’ll also find it easier to retain staff, keep costs under control, manage their building efficiency and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) obligations, and even offer value-added services that set them apart in a crowded market.

Smart operators are making those decisions on digital infrastructure right now – not at some point in the future. They’re looking beyond consumer-grade equipment to enterprise-class solutions, the sort that create fulfilling digital experiences for residents while strengthening the operational efficiency of staff and buildings. And as part of the process, they’re asking key questions about their current and future network solutions – 7½ of which we’ve captured in this discussion.

1 – Have we tested whether our network solution’s Wi-Fi capacity and coverage truly meet client density and application requirements?

Why it matters

Forward-thinking aged care operators base their digital decisions on reality, not wishful thinking. They’re aware that digital infrastructure has historically focused on siloed administrative or operational tasks, at the expense of solving broader business problems. They know that their network infrastructure needs to handle current demand well before even considering what’s possible in the future.

Getting the basics right often means auditing existing network solutions to identify gaps and areas of subpar performance. For mission-critical applications that means reliable access anytime, anywhere – including stairwells, lifts, and bathrooms. For residents, it means a quality of network service that’s the same whether in bedrooms, busy common areas or outdoor gardens.

2 – Can our network meet current and future demand from residents for high-bandwidth communication and entertainment?

Why it matters

Residents expect to live increasingly full lives in their aged care facilities – and rightly so. They want to enjoy entertainment, stay active, and communicate with their families and friends. If residents can’t make video calls to their children, shop and bank online, or stream movies and games with ease – they aren’t going to stay for long.

All of this requires substantial amounts of wireless bandwidth and coverage throughout facilities – not unlike modern hotels and resorts. That may involve deploying wireless access points with higher range, reliability, and bandwidth; or networks that optimise themselves using AI or automation.

3 – Do our network solutions offer secure and personalised Wi-Fi access to our residents without adding cost or complexity?

Why it matters

Privacy and security are increasingly front-of-mind for residents who put their health and personal data in aged care operators’ hands. At the same time, regulators and shareholders are paying more and more attention to the risks of data breaches – particularly in sensitive sectors like aged care. Physical security of residents is also an issue which technologies like digital locks and Internet of Things solutions can help reinforce. Yet those security solutions are also reliant on robust network security to avoid being compromised by bad actors.

Aged care operators should consider robust network security solutions that can easily scale up across high volumes of devices, including Internet of Things sensors. This will allow them to improve both physical and cyber security even as threats change and multiply. They will also benefit from cloud solutions that simplify app and data management while automatically updating to beat new threats.

4 – Will our network allow us to implement always-on monitoring for higher quality resident care?

Why it matters

Aged care operators can’t improve resident care without technology. The staffing shortages and resource pressures simply won’t allow it. Digital monitoring solutions, however, can provide 24/7 feedback on residents’ health – think fall detection bracelets, connected heart monitors, and bed sensor pads to detect incontinent episodes. Similarly, many operators are looking to relieve on-site staff pressures with e-health and telehealth consults that employ data from these Internet of Things monitoring solutions. However, these services also put significant demand on bandwidth and network speed.

Aged care network solutions must support the adoption of these solutions at scale, allowing staff to respond more quickly and sensitively to health issues when they arise. They should also make it simple for non-technical staff to manage sensors and leverage e-health services, without getting slowed down by IT admin tasks.

5 – Can our network solution reduce our carbon footprint and increase our building’s efficiency?

Why it matters

Like other industries, aged care faces rising scrutiny over its environmental impact. Yet minimising carbon emissions isn’t just part of ESG or regulatory obligations – it’s also good for business. Smart buildings that use data to run more efficiently have already become the norm in many residential and commercial developments. Aged care operators should take the same view of their facilities to keep costs down and compliance up.

Answering this question involves not just different types of Internet of Things devices (like environmental controls and smart lighting), but also networks and platforms that can manage and make sense of the complex data they generate. The right network solutions will craft real-time insight that accounts for indicators of resident wellness, as well as the OpEx efficiency of buildings. These solutions should help operators create an environment that’s both cost-effective and highly liveable for residents and staff.

6 – Does our network solution come with unified management, complete visibility and analytics for all parts of the network?

Why it matters

Digital services for residents, always-on monitoring systems, building sensors and analytics – all rely on the same network infrastructure to function. That equals much more data, much faster, all the time. Even relatively small performance issues, if left unaddressed, can quickly compromise the entire network. And aged care operators can’t afford the downtime or outages that follow – their residents’ lives may depend on it.

Advanced and automated solutions can empower those with less technical expertise to keep things running smoothly and even catch potential issues before they cause disruption.

7 – Has our network architecture been designed to support future business outcomes?

Why it matters

Addressing current network and digital needs is one thing; investing in future-ready infrastructure is another. Yet for aged care operators, achieving future business outcomes will increasingly depend on the strength of their network architecture.

  • Emerging digital services for residents, like virtual reality or metaverse applications, will consume exponentially more bandwidth than facilities deal with now.
  • Cyber risks continue to grow as the pay-off for successful breaches and hacks increases – along with the regulatory and reputational costs of non-compliance.
  • OpEx savings now mean free capital to reinvest in even more efficient operations – creating a virtuous cycle for operators who can use data to streamline their operations at speed.

Aged care operators can answer this question with cloud and network solutions that scale without compromising on security or creating excessive complexity.

7 1/2 – Does the solution allow us to differentiate our service offering?

Why it’s half a question

Differentiation is a part of success in any industry, not just aged care. Yet the question of “can we differentiate ourselves” only provokes more questions. Where can aged care facilities create extra value? Should they seek to differentiate themselves by being better in one area than others, or by offering something entirely new? Providers that double down on 24/7 resident care and responsiveness are an example of the first; those investing in unexpected services like onsite electric vehicle pods are examples of the second. This is half a question because it can only be answered by asking many more.

One thing is for certain: that the eventual answers will involve some form of digital innovation. Solid and future-ready network solutions allow aged care operators to turn those ideas into reality, at speed. 

Looking for answers?
We’ll help you find them.

Leading aged care operators already treat digital connectivity as more than a “nice to have” or even a basic utility. For them, it’s a platform for innovation – to enrich residents’ lives, manage operations more efficiently and securely, and create new sources of value as times and needs evolve. They’re investing in network infrastructure that sets strong foundations to serve our seniors, both now and in future generations.

RUCKUS have built up expertise and established a track record in connecting multi-tenancy facilities with complex, fast-evolving use cases. That’s why aged care operators are increasingly turning to us to guide their digital decision-making.

Talk to our team of expert, we’d love to help answer 7½ questions and more.