When a new residential care center was built in Zoersel, the landline and wireless network had a crucial role to play. It offers not only network access for staff, residents and visitors, but also an efficient solution for services such as digital TV and IP telephony.
Some 10 years in the planning, the new residential care center De Buurt opened its daytime care facility just before the summer. The center is an initiative of the non-profit Woonzorgcentrum De Buurt, a collaboration between the Zoersel municipal authorities, the Public Social Welfare Office (OCMW) and the healthcare and wellness group Emmaüs. “The care center is designed for the elderly,” says Katrien Schryvers, Chairman of Woonzorgcentrum De Buurt. “It’s specifically geared towards those needing a high level of care.” The center has been kept small in scale intentionally. It consists of 4 wings of 20 residential units, each of which has a number of communal facilities. Large windows make the architecture bright and airy. “We aim to create a homey atmosphere,” says Johan Herrebosch, Director of the residential care center. “We encourage residents not to stay in their rooms all day long. They eat together at the table in the cozy communal living room. This space plays a key role in the daily life of the center.”
Attention to technology
In designing the building, a great deal of attention was paid to technology. “We were not only thinking of the telephone but also the ICT needs, for both personnel and residents,” says Kristof Janssens, Secretary of Woonzorgcentrum De Buurt. “Soon, we will have residents living here who are accustomed to using a computer or tablet at home and they will want to be able to continue to do so here.” But there’s more. The care center was also looking for a way to be able to provide digital TV in the residents’ rooms and the common areas, without having to wire the building with coax cabling. Another need arose from the system for calls for assistance, whereby the residents can press a button in their rooms to get help, and remote communication is also possible.
Single point of contact
Woonzorgcentrum De Buurt drew up specifications for the installation of a wired network, WiFi and digital TVs. Three parties submitted a bid, and Belgacom was picked for the job. “Belgacom proposed acting as a single point of contact, even for those aspects that were being provided by other partners for the implementation,” explains Kristof Janssens. “For us, that was a distinct advantage.” Ultimately Belgacom itself provided the installation of the wired and wireless network, in addition to the digital TV system. Partner Geronika (Malle) provided 87 flat screen TVs. “The data network is an essential part of the entire project,” continues Johan Herrebosch. “The original plans called for coax cabling everywhere. We were able to do away with that expenditure which saved us a lot.” Through the network, Belgacom offers a solution for IP telephony, among other things. A convenient benefit is that residents can continue to use their familiar telephone number from home.
TV with a view to the future
Moreover, there is a key role to be played by the central system for digital TV. In the common areas and in the residents’ rooms, all it takes is a mini decoder — attached to the back of the TV — to receive the signal. Janssens: “In this way, the decoders aren’t visible for the residents and they don’t need a separate subscription for digital TV – with all the accompanying administrative red tape that would involve.” Since the TV broadcast runs over the network, the system will be able to offer an in-house channel in the future as well. Herrebosch: “Residents would be able to view the day’s menu, or we could use the system for digital signage, in the cafeteria for example.” Via the wireless network, Belgacom created an alternative solution for the assistance calls. The center opted for a system that transmits the call to the nurses’ smartphones using the WiFi. The network also supplies residents and visitors with an Internet connection.
Residential care center (Woonzorgcentrum) De Buurt provides 72 residential units, 10 places for short-term stays and a center for daytime care. The center has 78 employees.
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