MacTel deploying SD-WAN services for aged care organisation

Macquarie Telecom has deployed SD-WAN services across 80 percent of Hall & Prior's aged care facilities in NSW and Western Australia.

Macquarie Telecom has announced being chosen to deploy software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) services for Hall & Prior Aged Care in a bid to make it easier for the organisation to develop, deploy, and maintain digital services.

The SD-WAN service will allow for new audio and video conferencing solutions across the aged care provider's facilities in New South Wales and Western Australia, which Macquarie Telecom said would enable the company to "communicate more effectively and trial extra services to care recipients".

Of Hall & Prior's 25 nursing homes and two home care services, 80 percent have been transitioned to SD-WAN services, with the remaining 20 percent either under way or awaiting National Broadband Network (NBN) connectivity.

"Digital voice and video services are the way of the future in our industry. We needed a platform that enabled us to deploy these services in a way that was reliable, secure, and benefited our care providers and recipients," Hall & Prior Aged Care ICT infrastructure manager Dan Beeston said.

"We're now moving towards a fully centralised model for voice and video services across all sites. We were hesitant about doing this under our former MPLS technology, as those networks were already constrained. However, the trials with SD-WAN have proven successful."

Hall & Prior is now also developing a guest Wi-Fi platform alongside social media and teleconferencing capabilities as part of what it hopes will "reduce social isolation among care recipients in a digital age".

Macquarie Telecom earlier this month revealed that its half-year revenue growth of 8 percent and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) growth of 18 percent were saved by hosting and datacentres.

The carrier's telco business EBITDA dropped by 2 percent to AU$9.1 million due to the insourcing of a network operations centre (NOC) in Sydney, while its hosting arm experienced a 38 percent EBITDA jump to AU$13 million due to the boost it received by gaining protected-level cloud accreditation from ASD in September.

"Sustained growth in profitability over the last seven halves has allowed Macquarie to consider opportunities to invest for future growth," Macquarie Telecom CEO David Tudehope said in the financial results report.

"We are well positioned to continue to benefit from the megatrends of cloud and cybersecurity."

Announced in November, the telco's Sydney NOC -- which will be integrated inside Macquarie Telecom's Sydney CBD call centre and labelled Hub+ -- was to replace the use of third-party network operations services.

The roles it creates will involve various types of engineers, who will work across network faults and incidents. The NOC will make use of new operating support and IT management systems, increased automation across device configuration in the network, and real-time monitoring systems, which Macquarie Telecom said it hopes will reduce repair times and therefore network downtime.

The NOC will also include a technical service desk for helping solve customer complaints and questions.

"Customer service in our industry is appalling and on a slippery slope," Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton argued.

"Outsourcing jobs can make a quick profit in the short term, but the customer experience suffers when even simple queries take time and unnecessary steps to resolve. It's a zero-sum game, because more resources are needed when the technical expertise isn't there.

"Keeping our NOC in Australia will not only provide more local jobs, but will save our business money. Our competitors either don't understand this logic, or don't have the skills or imagination to pull it off."

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