Wavelink Blog

Overcoming myths around RTLS to achieve successful implementation

While some hospital employees may initially resist the prospect of a real-time locating system (RTLS), hospitals that use them can achieve significant efficiencies and operational improvements. The secret to introducing an RTLS successfully is to effectively communicate with employees regarding the information that will be collected and how it will be used, according to Wavelink.

Alan Stocker, health practice lead, Wavelink, said, “RTLS-enabled staff badges can make some employees feel like they’re being watched and distrusted. However, one of the biggest benefits of this technology is that it can actually improve staff safety. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 38 per cent of health workers experience physical violence in their career. (1) Reducing this number is essential and RTLS technology is one way to do that.”

With RTLS, staff members can call for help by simply activating the staff duress badge, which lets them get help without drawing attention. Because RTLS lets healthcare organisations see where staff are to a high degree of accuracy, there are no unnecessary delays in providing help when it’s needed.

RTLS can also help improve workplace efficiency by enhancing workflow and communication. Therefore, teams can provide faster response times, deliver a better patient experience, and even locate equipment the moment it’s needed. The time saved could be lifesaving.

Containing infection in healthcare facilities is another area where RTLS can provide benefits, since it provides real-time tracking of medical equipment, staff, and patients. Being able to see which people and equipment have been in contact with each other, and when, makes it easier to control the spread of infections.

However, due to a number of myths regarding RTLS, healthcare employees are reluctant to embrace it. These myths include that RTLS can be used as a punitive monitoring tool, that it requires significant extra work, that implementing it means facilities need to shut down rooms and units, that it interferes with medical equipment, or that it includes bulky badges. None of these are true.

Alan Stocker said, “In fact, RTLS can enhance staff safety and reduce manual work. Infrastructure is installed in minutes. Facilities that choose the right RTLS solution needn’t worry about it interfering with medical equipment. Badges are thin and lightweight, and safe enough for users with a pacemaker or stent, and even pregnant and breastfeeding women. Communicating these benefits to employees could help overcome their fears regarding this technology.”

Wavelink has identified five ways to promote RTLS buy-in among staff:
1. Communicate. Discussing the change can help address specific concerns among staff and neutralise any fears.
2. Educate. Giving staff lots of information about RTLS will help them understand how it will affect their usual routines and the ways in which it will make their job safer or easier.
3. Train. It’s important to provide training so team members know how to use it. This also provides an additional opportunity to dispel myths about RTLS.
4. Answer. Team members are bound to have questions and it’s important to answer these honestly and openly. It can also be worthwhile to compile FAQs for the staff intranet or a company-wide email.
5. Follow up. Let staff know their opinion is important by following up with surveys and taking action to improve.

Alan Stocker said, “Successfully implementing RTLS technology depends on having each member of the team on board with the technology and why it’s being used. It’s therefore important to communicate openly about the technology and, in particular, to let employees know how it will improve their work environment.

“Wavelink has partnered with CenTrak to provide low-impact, high-return RTLS solutions to Australian healthcare organisations. Using RTLS solutions effectively helps healthcare providers streamline workflows, drive higher patient and staff satisfaction, and reduce costs.”

Reference:
(1) http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/workplace/en/

How to Find Your Next Phone System: Part 2 – Maintenance & Usabillity

In part one of our blog series, How to Find Your Next Phone System, we explored how features and functions play a large role in the search for the right phone system for your company. And, we discussed how what works for your competitors’ businesses may not be right for your business. In this blog, we’ll discuss why usability and easy maintenance are critical factors to consider when purchasing a business phone system.

Challenge Two: Maintenance and Usability

The telephone service industry used to sell business phone systems knowing that it was such a specialized device they would be back time and time again for all sorts of add-on work. If someone needed a phone moved from one desk to another, they would say, “Sure, we can do that for you for $150.” Or, if someone needed to assign a phone to a new employee, that would be another $150. If a customer wanted to alter how or where their calls were directed during holidays, the phone company would say, “We can send someone onsite to set that up for you for $75/hour.”

Sadly, in today’s marketplace, there are still voice vendors and manufacturers who operate under a similar process. Administration menus are difficult to access or not available to the end customer, keeping them from being able to make quick updates to their system and requiring them to be reliant on their telecom vendor. The legacy model works great for additional revenue for your installer and the manufacturer, but it’s not a wonderful choice for most businesses.

In a world where mobile apps, web services, and click-to-build web-based applications are the norm, it makes sense that most business-critical applications, appliances, or servers follow suit with graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that are designed to ease administration and guide even non-tech personnel to make simple moves, adds, changes, and more.

Why should you bother with self-service and internal (or partner provided) maintenance? Aside from the fact that new features, functions, and enhancements are often available to phone systems these days, it can save your business countless hours of missed opportunities waiting for a vendor to respond or resolve an issue. And every savvy business manager and owner knows that time is money.

The most cost-effective phone system solutions are those that utilize smart GUIs through a website or dedicated application so that even non-telephony managers can easily make simple changes to the way the phone system operates. Re-assigning a phone or extension from one desk to another, for example, shouldn’t take a team of engineers or a few hours of wait time for a vendor to become available to make the change. Unified Communications (UC) solutions do require experts to design and initially configure, however, the day-to-day operations and common chores that can nibble at your bottom line should be easily managed in-house.

Conclusion

A great example of a UC solution designed to be easy to administer is our very own Switchvox platform. From the easy-to-navigate, browser-based interface to the built-in help system, it makes it clear that the nickel-and-dime vendor support model is outdated and ultimately unnecessary for most business solutions.

In the final part of this blog series, we’ll explore why choosing between cloud and on-premise phone system deployments is a huge factor in today’s Unified Communications buying process and how choosing the correct solution deals with more than just the upfront and ongoing costs.

For 8 specific tips about finding a phone system that is easy to use and maintain, check out this blog.

How to Find Your Next Phone System: Part 1 – Features & Functions

With all the buzzwords, technobabble, and specialized, proprietary keywords that manufacturers use to describe the same features, it can be a seemingly daunting task to find your next phone system. And, if you’re in a non-IT role, the task can seem even more difficult.

When finding a new phone system (or making any IT purchase), the underlying question you’re trying to answer is: “Is this the right solution for my company?”

There are three main challenges that every business should overcome when replacing their phone system. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a three-part blog series addressing these three challenges in order to help your company thrive and grow by utilizing the tools in today’s Unified Communications (UC) solutions. Today we’ll address the first challenge: features and functions.

Challenge One: Features Functions

Feature parity among UC solution providers has never been closer. With each vendor primarily offering the same types of features and functions, how you access those functions can be monumentally different.  For example, many vendors bundle certain packages together and charge extra for them. Or, they offer a stripped down version of a package and charge upsell fees in order to activate the full feature.

Let’s say you run a dental practice and you would like to have six staff members making outbound calls to patients for follow up and scheduling. Those same six staff members also receive inbound calls from patients looking to reschedule appointments, confirm appointment times, and inquire about the duration of their procedure. It might not be a traditional call centre or helpdesk, but in order to fully optimize how quickly and effectively patients and staff are able to communicate in this way, call centre features are really necessary.

Some UC solution providers may charge extra to include call centre type features. Or, some may include a base package with a single call queue with up to five agents (staff members) and charge you to add additional queues or agents. Others, like Digium’s own Switchvox UC system, include it without licensing limitations in their base product.

So, what’s the underlying point about challenge one? It’s not just about whether a phone system has a feature you’re looking for, it’s also about how you access it and how much you must pay for the privilege to fully utilize it. For a small set of features, maybe an add-on cost is not a large factor. But, if you need to add multiple features, these fees can add up more quickly than you might suspect.

Conclusion

The most cost-effective solutions are those that include the features and functions your company could use to improve its business processes, streamline your call functions, and maximize the benefits to both your employees and callers alike.

To help narrow down the phone system features your company needs, download the New Phone System Checklist now!

Stay tuned for part two of this blog series where we’ll explore Challenge Two: Maintenance and Usability.

Keys to achieving successful mobile integration with unified communications

Keys to achieving successful mobile integration with unified communications

Unified communications (UC) has transformed the way enterprises do business. Converging voice and data on the same network has eliminated redundant costs. The nearly ubiquitous adoption of personal mobile devices, conferencing and video solutions has let UC vendors extend traditional telephony services to the mobile phone. Yet, many industries such as healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and retail have found that some consumer-grade mobile devices are too fragile to withstand these demanding environments.

Ilan Rubin, managing director, Wavelink, said, “A more enterprise-grade mobility solution is required. Transformative technologies such as Wi-Fi and the cloud make it possible to access and deploy mobile voice and data across an organisation, wherever people are, and through a single enterprise mobile device. The outcome of this consolidation is improved productivity, lower cost, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

“Yet, because UC systems are already complex, adding mobility can seem like a risky proposition. However, with careful execution, businesses can ensure workers have the tools they need to access co-workers and data from anywhere in the organisation, while on the go, to improve decision-making and boost the bottom line.”

There are six critical steps to adopting a mobile strategy:

1. Focus on the primary goal with a well-defined vision. The company vision clearly defines what an organisation expects to achieve. By identifying these goals, businesses can avoid confusion and achieve better business alignment. Once defined, a detailed plan is needed to clearly identify what success will look like and how it will be measured. For many service-oriented businesses, for example, success often means the ability to respond quickly to opportunities and challenge. Giving workers access to the information they need, in real time, can therefore deliver a competitive advantage.

2. Take inventory of critical business processes. A successful mobile deployment begins with a list of workflows that teams follow to accomplish daily tasks. These processes provide a shared understanding of the business and may lead to discussions on ways to improve. Enlisting key representatives within the organisation is necessary to examine the needs of each team, and align technologies and processes. By looking closely at the various workflows, data, and teams, everyone can gain clear alignment and identify roadblocks in the processes.

3. Assess the IT infrastructure. Assessing the company’s current infrastructure and technology assets provides clarity into the opportunities and limitations that are inherent in the environment. Mobile UC improves the speed and flexibility of communication, however, any DECT infrastructure or Wi-Fi network must be designed with both voice and data in mind. Adequate bandwidth and coverage is necessary to support calls, video conferencing, seamless roaming, and multi-client usage. Businesses must ensure the infrastructure can accommodate wireless communication throughout the organisation. A site assessment can be helpful in analysing current infrastructure and technologies.

4. Evaluate enterprise mobility solutions. While there are numerous mobile solutions available, including consumer-grade devices or a BYOD strategy, few offer the reliability and coverage to support more demanding enterprise environments like healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and retail. Mobile workers within business environments need solutions that offer reliable network connectivity, durability, seamless integration, and complete device management.

5. Determine proper management and governance. IT often faces competing objectives, from satisfying employee demand for greater mobile access to ensuring the security of corporate data by putting limits in place. Policy consistency will help break down silos and ensure each department is executing on the same strategy. Training and communication are key to keeping employees informed of what is and is not permissible with their mobile devices. The lack of a complete end-to-end strategy and awareness leads to greater risk, potential long-term administrative issues, and ultimately, greater cost to the company.

6. Initiate a test pilot. A pilot program, or proof of concept, lets organisations ‘test and tinker’ with the proposed technology to ensure it addresses their unique business needs. They can track KPIs to get a baseline of performance metrics, as well as gain feedback from users on existing and future processes. As an initial rollout, a pilot lets organisations test the proposed solution within a limited scope. It may consist of deploying a specific number of mobile devices within a particular facility or engaging a certain department to test its unique workflows. The purpose of the rollout is to verify functionality and determine whether the proposed system works as designed.

Ilan Rubin said, “Successful businesses today focus on listening and responding to customer needs and delivering solutions to address them. UC brings tighter collaboration among workers, and mobility, by its nature, helps companies respond quickly to new opportunities. Understanding the vision, assessing workflows, and implementing an end-to-end mobility infrastructure is the first step to increasing productivity and decision making. It’s a business strategy that ensures an organisation does not get left behind.”

 

 

How to effectively address security challenges in a digital healthcare world

Like most other industries, healthcare has gone digital, making it a key target for cybercriminals looking to obtain sensitive personal information or make money through ransomware attacks. It’s therefore imperative for healthcare organisations to maintain organisation-wide security through up-to-date and automated models, according to Wavelink.

The average cost for each stolen or lost record for Australian organisations is $139. Healthcare is the most expensive industry for data breaches globally, costing more than 2.5 times the global average across industries. Australian organisations currently take more than five months on average to detect an incident. (1)

Hugo Hutchinson, Wavelink’s national business development manager for Fortinet, said, “Healthcare organisations need to be aware of their responsibilities to protect patients’ privacy and they need to stay on top of the threat landscape so they can take the most appropriate steps to protect the organisation. It’s therefore helpful to talk about the ‘security fabric’, which is a multi-layered approach that can include firewalls, cloud security, advanced threat protection, application security, access management, network operations centres, and security operations centres.

“Organisations should consider the fabric model because it delivers end-to-end control of the entire network even as it changes, as opposed to point solutions that can quickly become obsolete. The fabric approach speeds up threat analysis and response because it doesn’t require a central management system. In fact, it integrates and shares information among external solutions.”

The number of people and devices that need to access the network in a healthcare organisation can be high, making it hard to keep track of who is being given access to what parts of the network. Employees, patients, and visitors are all likely to use their own devices to access network services, along with the organisation’s owned devices. Managing all of these disparate endpoints is therefore challenging.

Hugo Hutchinson said, “Best practice is to enforce access policies for all users and devices. This requires micro-segmentation of the network using internal network security firewalls so people can only get into the parts of the network that they’re authorised to access. Using a fabric approach, healthcare organisations can exert even more specific access control with the agility to change as the organisation’s needs change.”

While it’s essential to have strong security policies and processes, it’s equally important that these don’t hinder the organisation from providing excellent patient care. This means applications need to perform as expected or better, without being compromised by slow packet processing, content inspection, or policy management processing. A fabric approach speeds these processes up so users don’t notice any difference in application performance.

This can be enhanced with automated security processes that eliminate the need for human intervention into security incidents, saving time and keeping networks up and running.

Advanced threat protection is key to minimising the risk of a successful cyberattack. This can take the form of sandboxing, which creates an isolated, secure environment to validate incoming threats then shares threat information with the security community to disrupt zero-day threats.

Hugo Hutchinson said, “Threats are emerging and evolving too fast for manual processes to keep up. Organisations can’t expect to adequately fight the growing threats just by throwing more resources at them; automation is the only answer. It’s faster and less error-prone than humans, and it’s better at prioritising threats so organisations don’t spend time fighting every apparent threat.

“An automated system means security staff can work on minimising vulnerabilities and educating staff to help reduce the impact of human error on the organisation’s security.”

Reference:
(1) 2017 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach report

CenTrak, Global Leader of Enterprise Location Services, Appoints Wavelink as Distributor for ANZ

wavelink_centrak

Wavelink, a leader in providing enterprise solutions to the channel, today announced it has been appointed as a distributor for CenTrak’s Location and Sensing technologies throughout Australia and New Zealand.

CenTrak’s mission is to transform patient care via high quality, reliable and affordable location and sensing technologies. The CenTrak offering supports high velocity updates and sub-room level accuracy across the entire healthcare enterprise. CenTrak uses seven different technologies to help healthcare facilities increase productivity, streamline workflows, drive higher patient and staff satisfaction and reduce costs, including: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Second Generation Infrared (Gen2IR™), Advanced Ultrasound (IRUS™), Low Frequency (LF), active UHF and passive RFID.

Wavelink will be distributing CenTrak’s full suite of healthcare technologies, which supports asset tracking, environmental monitoring, staff and patient safety, workflow management, compliance and wayfinding solutions. In February 2018, CenTrak was named Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) Category Leader by KLAS Research for a second consecutive year. The offering is currently deployed in over 950 leading healthcare facilities in the US, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.

Ilan Rubin, managing director, Wavelink, said, “The addition of CenTrak to Wavelink’s portfolio is a key component of advancing our solutions offering to our channels. CenTrak’s offering addresses a wide range of health use cases, which Wavelink will integrate with our applications and product suite. This will provide tremendous added-value to our reseller’s health offerings, which is a key element of our healthcare practice strategy.  Wavelink is proud to be working with world-class leading technology vendors and the addition of CenTrak is an endorsement that we are attracting leading solutions to bring to our partners.  We’re excited to be working with the CenTrak team and look forward to a long and productive relationship.”

About Wavelink:
Wavelink is a leader in providing enterprise solutions to the channel. Wavelink distributes a range of products from Spectralink, Olinqua, Spok, Fortinet and Digium. For more information please contact Wavelink on 1300 147 000.

About CenTrak:
CenTrak improves healthcare operational efficiency and the quality of patient care via the industry’s most robust and scalable Enterprise Location Services™ offering. Ranked #1 as the 2017 and 2018 KLAS Category Leader for Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), CenTrak’s technology supports high velocity updates and sub-room level accuracy across the entire healthcare enterprise. In its mission to transform patient care, CenTrak helps world-class healthcare facilities increase productivity, streamline workflows, drive higher patient and staff satisfaction and reduce costs. For more information, visit CenTrak.com.

Australian Healthcare Week 2018

 

 

 

Wavelink looks to continue expansion of Fortinet security business in 2018

Wavelink, a leader in providing enterprise solutions to the channel, is looking to continue the expansion of its Fortinet security business in 2018.

In 2017, Wavelink appointed Hugo Hutchinson as national business development manager for Fortinet to ensure the rapid growth of its Fortinet security business, building on the existing wireless business.

After nine months with Hugo Hutchinson in the role, Wavelink is well ahead of its objectives. From a zero base, security now represents around 30 per cent of Wavelink’s Fortinet revenues and this share is growing rapidly.

Hugo Hutchinson, Wavelink’s national business development manager for Fortinet, said, “Wavelink’s overall objective has been to sell and support the complete Fortinet Security Fabric, focusing on both core network and perimeter security offerings , to its existing channel base, as well as expanding the base to new channel partners. By leveraging Wavelink’s expertise in selling Fortinet’s wireless solutions over many years, we have been progressively expanding our offering from perimeter security to now include core security offerings.”

Wavelink’s key differentiators include its wireless expertise, based on its large install base of high-density, high-traffic customers using advanced applications such as wireless voice. This extends to pre-sales support including free remote site surveys to enable accurate quoting.

Hugo Hutchinson said, “Wavelink continues to focus on key industry verticals, including education, healthcare, hospitality, retail, government and logistics. With the addition of a number of targeted new partners we believe that 2017 has set the foundation for a massive 2018.”

Buckhead Life Restaurant Group | Digium Switchvox Video Case Study

VoIP Network Test | Network Readiness

Why is VoIP Network Readiness So Important?

Your phone system is the lifeline between your company, your customers, and your employees. That’s why reliability and quality of service are essential parts of your communications network. There are certain aspects of your current network that need to be considered to ensure that you are capable of delivering high-quality voice, video, and UC features to your office. Below, you will find tips and tools, including a comprehensive VoIP network test, to help you understand your network and determine whether or not it’s fully ready to take advantage of a hosted phone system.

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