NHS starts rollout of Covid-19 mesh networks at Scottish care homes
The NHS in Scotland has deployed a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi based mesh network to reduce the spread of viruses including Covid-19 at a care home in Inverness. IoT networking company Wyld Networks has provided the technology for the new installation.
Cambridge-based company Wyld Networks has a deal with Highland Health Ventures (HHVL), which works with NHS Highland, as well as the European Space Agency and the NEXUS life sciences park. The mesh system at Castlehill Care Home in Inverness is the first that Wyld Networks and HHVL have deployed together.
The solution creates virtual ‘geozones’, software-based virtual walls around the care home, to manage access and deliver location-aware messaging and safety information. The software decides whether visitors and staff can or cannot enter the facility based on health status and level of risk.
The mesh component uses peer-to-peer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in Apple and Android smartphones, tablets and IoT devices, which work separately of cellular connectivity, to connect in multiple paths into a meshed network that grows larger and more robust as more devices join.
The mesh functionality provides a picture of how social distancing is being practiced, the company said, allowing for better planning of building layouts, room occupancy, and workflow schedules. Subject to policy and privacy, employers could also alert users who have been in close contact with anyone testing positive for Covid-19, it suggested.
The networking solution is designed for consumer and enterprise networks at sporting events, retail venues, music festivals, and transport hubs, as well.
Frances Hines, research, development and innovation manager at NHS Highland, said: “NHS Highland is interested in implementing many new measures to support care homes to help protect residents and staff and assist in preventing the spread of Covid-19. We are now seeking to bring together innovative technologies to deploy in care homes who wish to participate in supporting these actions.”
HHVL is tasked with bringing innovation into the healthcare system. Alan White, a director of HHVL, said: “We have successfully implemented new innovative technologies into the healthcare system in Scotland, and believe that deploying this new solution from Wyld Networks will go a long way to help prevent further outbreaks of the virus not only in care homes, but also in business in general to help get people back to work safely and re-boot the economy.”
Castlehill Care Home is owned by Morar Living, part of the Simply UK Group. Linda Meston, director of care for Morar Living, said: “We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care while giving our residents the choices that they would have if they were living independently. We have created a safe environment for our residents and staff in our care homes and believe that technology will play a vital role in ensuring that continued safety.”