Alertacall - Digital Switchover

Hard wired alarm and warden call systems were most commonly introduced in the 1960s and 1970s into sheltered and supported accommodation. They provided a method for a scheme manager (and later an external alarm monitoring centre) to dial in to an intercom unit on the wall of a dwelling to communicate with residents at a time when there were few alternatives. It is unlikely that suppliers of traditional hard wired alarm and warden call systems will be able to verify that many of the systems that have previously been sold by them will work reliably after Digital Switchover, especially if they are older. It is also worth noting that even if there was no Digital Switchover programme, many of these aged systems are coming to the end of their life. Some of the issues include: • The functionality of hard wired warden call systems is limited - being purely reactive • They are often perceived as unattractive or institutional looking by residents • Mounted on the wall, away from where a resident typically spends their time, they have no or limited value as a device with which residents will regularly engage • Upgrading or replacing these systems is costly While Digital Switchover will affect residents in their own home, there are broader service implications for housing providers. In particular, for those providing accommodation for older people and those with additional needs. This section looks at the main systems affected, the financial risks and impacts of this, as well as the opportunities the Digital Switchover presents. Only 3 out of 4 people* regularly wear alarm devices Properties and services affected Hard wired alarms and warden intercom systems Dispersed alarms that plug into telephone lines * Europe PMC (2019). Europe PMC. [online] Europepmc. org. Available at: med/20814795 [Accessed 17 Nov. 2020]. Some dispersed alarm systems will continue to work as normal, some may be unreliable in certain circumstances, and some may not work well at all. It is important to note that dispersed alarm systems are based on a principle that is now decades old. Only 3 out of 4 people regularly wear alarms and, even if they are wearing them, they may not choose to, or even be in a position to, activate them in an emergency. With a wide variety of different devices and approaches available, there are now entirely different methods of offering support that are more tailored to the individual. Also, these systems have a broader range of functionality to help organisations enhance service delivery and improve efficiency. 8 2 Implications for social housing providers