IoT plus Wi-Fi can help track patients
Rolling out an IoT initiative at a single site is challenging enough; doing it across multiple locations at the same time requires even more testing and preparation.
Schlegel Villages, an operator of 16 long-term care and retirement communities across Ontario, Canada, recently overhauled its entire network, using Aruba Gigabit wireless access points and IoT devices to provide point-of-care services and automated food services to residents.
The company is preparing its network to support the connection of objects such as security cameras, nurse call systems and HVAC systems. As part of the transition, Schlegel is migrating from a Novell eDirectory multi-location server setup to a Microsoft Active Directory environment in a single data center.
“In the future we anticipate taking advantage of the Aruba access points’ GPS locating technology, whether to locate lost equipment or get a notification on a resident who has left the building,” says Chris Carde, director of information technologies for Schlegel. “That will assist in saving lives.”
As part of its network update, Schlegel is upgrading all its switches and Wi-Fi access points, replacing the old equipment with HPE 5130 switches and Aruba 300 series access points, mostly Aruba AP 315s.
“By the end of the project we will have around 1,500 APs, 16 controllers, and 50 switches installed,” Carde says. “Internal speed means nothing if accessing the Internet is a bottleneck, so we are undergoing a large ISP upgrade from a basic business line to dedicated fiber of 150mbps up and down across all of our 16 sites, and 1000 mbps at our data center. The new infrastructure will allow us to support IoT with better care and services to our residents and administration staff.”
During the transition, the company is also implementing new iPad-based clinical software, which requires reliable Wi-Fi connectivity and performance, Carde says. By the end of the project, the company will have deployed about 600 iPads.
In addition, the company is rolling out a multimedia product called Scala, which will display menus, news and weather on monitors throughout all of Schlegel’s locations.
Organizations looking to create an IoT strategy need to think long term in terms of what types of devices will need to be connected, Carde says.
“Ensure your infrastructure is capable of growing with ease to accommodate your future needs,” he says. “There is nothing more frustrating than bottlenecking yourself with a new network infrastructure. Having a plan in place will speak volumes on your ability to design a robust and expandable network.”
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