In the UK, an estimated 1.8 million vulnerable individuals rely on telecare services to ensure their safety and well-being.

Traditionally when an emergency occurs, a service user can press an alarm button or rely on automated sensors in their homes. This alarm is transmitted via the aging Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to an Alarm Receiving Centre where an operator can make contact to provide advice or dispatch assistance.

By the end of January 2027, the UK's communications infrastructure will complete its transition to digital networks, rendering the existing analogue PSTN obsolete.

Traditional telecare equipment communicates with the monitoring centres using analogue signals, which consist of a series of audible tones and pauses. However, digital networks operate using a different language, essentially speaking in data packets rather than tones. This incompatibility poses a significant issue – the analogue signals from telecare alarms can be misinterpreted by the digital network, leading to distorted voice connectivity, failed transmissions, multiple reconnection attempts, and ultimately delayed or prevented emergency responses.

As a result, the telecoms industry, including Openreach, Virgin, TalkTalk, and BT, have recommended a crucial shift to digital telecare devices to ensure the reliability and safety of these vital services. As stated in the TSA’s Commissioner/Buyer Guidance: Analogue to Digital Social Alarms Systems Nov 2021 report:

"The view of network operators (Openreach & Virgin) and communications providers (BT, Virgin, Sky) is that call failure rates for tone-based analogue communication will continue to steadily increase as the UK's network infrastructure transitions to digital."

This monumental switchover not only presents significant challenges but also unlocks exciting opportunities for the telecare industry to embrace cutting-edge technology enabled care (TEC) solutions. Even areas not yet fully migrated to digital networks can experience disruptions, as telecare calls may still traverse parts of the digital infrastructure while being routed to monitoring centres.

Recognising the critical importance of being prepared for this monumental change, 2iC-Care has developed Andi – our innovative, future-proof, digital alarm response and preventative technology enabled care solution. Andi was specifically designed to help organisations navigate the switchover seamlessly while delivering exceptional care.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the key aspects of the analogue to digital telecare transition, its implications for the social care sector, and how Andi can support you every step of the way, ensuring a smooth and future-focused transition.

Transitioning from Analogue Telecare to Digital TEC with Andi

For decades, telecare solutions have relied on the UK's aging analogue telephone network to provide vital support and monitoring services to vulnerable individuals. However, with BT's announcement to phase out these analogue systems by the end of 2025 and then the delay to the end of January 2027, there is an urgent need to adopt digital alternatives.

This is where Andi comes in and makes a real difference. Our cutting-edge, end-to-end digital technology enabled care solution ensures a seamless transition, leveraging the latest care peripherals and leading IoT technology/ interoperability/open protocol solutions to deliver reliable, future-proof care.

With Andi, you can:

  • Maintain more reliable and uninterrupted services continuity during and after the switchover.
  • Benefit from increased resilience and reduced risk of failed alarm transmissions to alarm receiving centres.
  • Access real-time data and actionable insights which help you to deliver to achieve better care outcomes.
  • Use Andi’s interoperability to integrate existing analogue care peripheral technology stock as well as newer, innovative health and care devices into your telecare services.
  • Stay ahead of the curve with a solution built for the digital age.
Andi DAU and dashboard connecting to multiple peripherals

2iC-Care take a partnership approach, we are committed to supporting telecare providers, local authorities, and housing associations in navigating this transformative period, ensuring their services remain robust, compliant, and user-centric.

Why does the Digital Transition Matter for Social Care?

The shift from analogue telecare to digital technology enabled care systems is one that is definitely happening and cannot be ignored. Local authorities do not have control over the fact that this is happening, but they can control what technology enabled care solutions they choose. Did you know that it’s estimated 1.8 million service users using telecare services could be left vulnerable if care services do not transition effectively? The transition represents a pivotal opportunity to revolutionise the way care is delivered, monitored, and managed. As well as improving the outcomes that care services can achieve for their service users.

To better understand the significance of this transition and its impact on the social care sector, you can watch the following video from the Telecare Services Association (TSA):

As the TSA highlights, the digital transition paves the way for telecare providers to harness the power of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, smart speakers, predictive analytics, and seamless data integration across social care, housing, and health sectors. By leveraging these advancements, care providers can gain a holistic understanding of service users' needs, enabling proactive interventions, optimised resource allocation, and a truly personalised approach to care delivery.

By embracing digital solutions like Andi, social care service providers can unlock a range of benefits that directly impact the quality of life for service users and their families:

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Improved safety and reliability

Digital systems offer increased resilience, reducing the risk of failed alarm transmissions to alarm receiving centres (ARC)'s and ensuring timely assistance when needed.

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Better service provision and proactive care

Real-time data collection and analysis enables care providers to anticipate needs and intervene proactively, rather than reactively.

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Increased efficiency and cost-savings

Streamlined digital processes minimise administrative burdens, freeing up resources to focus on delivering exceptional care.

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Integrated and preventative care

Seamless integration with other digital health and care systems facilitates a holistic, preventative approach to care delivery.

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Personalised and user-centric solutions

With rich data insights, care plans can be tailored to individual needs, empowering service users and their families.

By recognising the transformative potential of the digital transition, social care organisations can position themselves at the forefront of a more connected, efficient, and compassionate care landscape. This way local authority care services can procure care technology that future – proofs care services.

Analogue and Digital Key Differences

To fully appreciate the significance of the digital switchover, it's essential to understand the fundamental differences between analogue and digital telecare systems.

Connectivity

Analogue systems rely on traditional telephone lines, while digital solutions leverage the internet or mobile data networks.

Data Transmission

Analogue systems transmit voice and data over dedicated lines, while digital systems use data packets over IP networks.

Reliability

Digital networks offer increased resilience and redundancy, reducing the risk of failed transmissions.

Scalability

Digital solutions can more easily scale to accommodate growing demand and integrate with other systems.

Data Capabilities

Digital systems enable rich data collection, analysis, and insights for proactive care delivery.

Future-proofing

As analogue networks are phased out, digital solutions ensure long-term viability and compliance.

Analogue Telecare

Traditional analogue telecare systems have been the backbone of remote monitoring and assistance for decades. These systems rely on dedicated telephone lines to transmit voice and data signals from service users' homes to monitoring centres.

While reliable for many years, analogue telecare systems are becoming increasingly outdated and vulnerable to disruptions as the UK's communications infrastructure evolves.

Digital Telecare

Digital telecare solutions, such as Andi, represent the future of technology enabled care. These systems leverage modern internet and mobile data networks to transmit data, ensuring reliable and secure communication between service users, monitoring centres, and care providers.

Key Dates for the Analogue to Digital Switchover

Analogue telephony switch-off

Copper Switch-off

Mobile network sunsetting

  • 2020 - BT announces PSTN switch off by 2027

    BT announces the intention to switch off The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone lines and ISDN by 2027.

  • End 2020 - Analogue switch of starts

    First BT exchange (Salisbury) starts the analogue switch-off process

  • 2023 - 3G networks decommissioned

    Vodafone and EE 3G networks decommissioned.

  • 2024 - Switch off plans delayed

    BT has significantly delayed plans to force customers to switch from physical copper-based landlines to internet-based services following concerns from vulnerable people.

  • 2024 - 2iC-Care release switchover guide

     2iC-Care released a guide to adjust to the new analogue to digital transition timeline.

  • 2024 - Three's 5G network decommissioned

    Three's 5G network decommissioned, indicating the transition to fibre-based networks.

  • 2027 - PSTN & ISDN switch off complete

    Jan 31 - Analogue phone lines PSTN and ISDN switch-off completed.

  • 2027+ - Copper switch off complete

    Likely early 2030s, copper switch-off completed.

As these key dates approach, it is crucial for telecare providers and local authorities to have a clear plan and timeline for transitioning to digital solutions. Failing to act in a timely manner could result in service disruptions, compromised safety for service users, and potential regulatory non-compliance.

Dates sourced from Farrpoint.

The Challenges of Transitioning from Analogue to Digital

While the digital switchover presents numerous opportunities, it also introduces challenges that must be carefully navigated:

Migrating from legacy analogue systems to digital solutions requires careful planning, testing, and implementation to ensure seamless service continuity.

Upgrading infrastructure, devices, and software can represent a significant investment, particularly for larger organisations or those with aging systems.

Introducing new digital solutions may require training and support to ensure service users and care staff can effectively utilise the new systems.

Robust data protection measures must be implemented to safeguard sensitive information transmitted over digital networks.

Ensuring digital telecare solutions can seamlessly integrate with other social care systems is crucial for delivering holistic, coordinated care.

By partnering with an experienced provider like 2iC-Care, these challenges can be effectively mitigated, ensuring a smooth and successful digital transition.

How can Andi Help?

At 2iC-Care, we've developed Andi, our flagship digital technology enabled care solution, to address the unique needs of telecare providers, local authorities, and housing associations as they navigate the digital switchover.

Andi offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline operations, enhance service delivery, and empower organisations to thrive in the digital age:

Future-proof connectivity

Andi leverages the latest digital communications technologies, ensuring reliable connectivity and compliance with evolving industry standards.

Seamless integration

Our solution seamlessly integrates with existing social care systems, facilitating a holistic, coordinated approach to care delivery.

Rich data insights

Andi's advanced interoperability and data capture provide valuable actionable insights, enabling proactive preventative interventions and personalised care plans.

Enhanced safety and reliability

With robust digital infrastructure and resilient connectivity, Andi minimises the risk of failed alarm transmissions to ARCs, ensuring timely assistance when needed.

Cost-effective scalability

Our cloud-based software solution is highly scalable, allowing organisations to easily adapt to changing demand without significant infrastructure investments.

User-centric design

Andi's intuitive user interfaces and comprehensive training resources ensure a smooth transition for adult social care teams and care staff alike.

With Andi, 2iC-Care is committed to being a trusted partner, guiding organisations through every stage of the digital transition, from planning and implementation to ongoing support and optimisation.

Key Resources for the Digital Transition

As you navigate the complexities of the analogue to digital telecare switchover, it's essential to leverage authoritative resources and guidance from industry experts. A very useful resource is the LGA Digital Switchover Telecare Checklist, it helps local authorities and telecare service providers prepare for a seamless transition. This checklist covers crucial aspects, including:

Requirement
Consensus


Requirement Consensus

Stakeholders must review their desired outcomes and ensure they align with the needs of IT, security, health, and safety teams, fostering a cohesive approach.

Soft Market
Testing


Soft Market Testing

Buyers and commissioners are encouraged to explore the market landscape, enabling them to identify the digital telecare company that best suits their local authority's unique requirements.

Procurement
Routes


Procurement Routes

Local authorities should evaluate the most appropriate procurement methods, whether through static or dynamic purchasing frameworks (DPS), to secure the right digital telecare services.

Digital
Interoperability


Digital Interoperability

Assessing the required level of interoperability is crucial to ensure seamless integration with existing systems and future scalability.

Alarm
Connectivity


Alarm Connectivity

Understanding the capabilities and limitations of digital telecare solutions with and without SIM, Wi-Fi and Ethernet is essential to meet the specific needs of the local community.

Quality Standards Framework
(QSF)


Quality Standards Framework (QSF)

The TSA recommends that commissioners make it mandatory for organizations involved in the end-to-end delivery of technology enabled care to be certified by TEC Quality according to the Quality Standards Framework, ensuring adherence to industry best practices. 2iC-Care are QSF Certified.

Key Performance Indicators
(KPIs)


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Local authorities must clearly define their KPIs and ensure they align with the established QSF standards, enabling effective performance monitoring and continuous improvement.

Tunstall Digital Transition
Hub


Tunstall Digital Transition Hub

Tunstall Healthcare's dedicated digital transition hub offers insights, resources, and support for telecare providers embarking on the switchover journey.

Careium Digital vs. Analogue
Report


Careium Digital vs. Analogue Report

Careium's exclusive report details the findings from comprehensive testing of analogue and digital telecare products on next-generation networks.

By consulting these trusted industry resources, telecare providers can stay informed, mitigate risks, and develop effective strategies for a successful digital transition.

The latest Digital switchover news

Stay up-to-date with the latest developments, announcements, and industry insights related to the analogue to digital telecare switchover with our dynamic news feed.

BT delays analogue switch-off date to better protect telecare users - AT Today - AT Today

BT delays analogue switch-off date to better protect telecare users - AT Today  AT Today

BT changes the digital switchover deadline - SystemTek

BT changes the digital switchover deadline  SystemTek

BT Group refines its digital switchover programme for the UK's full fibre future - WebWire

BT Group refines its digital switchover programme for the UK's full fibre future  WebWire

BT Group refines its digital switchover programme for the UK's full fibre future - WebWire

BT Group refines its digital switchover programme for the UK's full fibre future  WebWire

BT delays new digital network switchover timetable - MSN

BT delays new digital network switchover timetable  MSN

BT Extends Deadline For PSTN Switch To Digital Landlines - Silicon UK

BT Extends Deadline For PSTN Switch To Digital Landlines  Silicon UK

BT's Digital Switchover Programme Adjustments: A Rural Perspective - Rural Services Network

BT's Digital Switchover Programme Adjustments: A Rural Perspective  Rural Services Network

BT Group extends deadline for digital switchover - UKAuthority.com

BT Group extends deadline for digital switchover  UKAuthority.com

BT Group pushes back digital switchover deadline - ComputerWeekly.com

BT Group pushes back digital switchover deadline  ComputerWeekly.com

BT calls out telecare providers and local authorities after delaying Digital Voice switchover - Telecoms.com

BT calls out telecare providers and local authorities after delaying Digital Voice switchover  Telecoms.com

2iC-Care's advice articles

Explore our in-depth articles and blog posts for expert advice, best practices, and real-world case studies on navigating the digital transition with Andi.

Our thought leaders and subject matter experts share valuable insights, tips, and strategies to help you make informed decisions and maximise the benefits of digital telecare.

Revolutionising Telecare: My Insights on Andi by 2iC-Care

Mark Smith, 2iC-Care's Business Development Director, has over 30 years of experience within TEC and he is excited to share insights on how Andi is addressing longstanding challenges and opening up ne...

Webinar on demand - Diversifying Technology Enabled Care for the Future

The world of technology enabled care (TEC) is rapidly evolving, providing new opportunities to support individuals with diverse needs across different care settings. However, it's crucial that we look...

News on the Analogue to Digital Technology Enabled Care Transition

With the recent announcement extending the deadline for the digital switchover to January 31, 2027, telecare stakeholders now have additional time to strategically navigate this transformation.

A Vision for the Future: 2iC-Care Integrates PacSana's TEC Solution

2iC-Care are pleased to announce that we are connected to the innovative PacSana solution. PacSana is a Smart bracelet and Remote Care Platform custom built for older adults.

The Power of Diversity: Driving Innovation in Care

Service users have vastly different requirements, a one-size-fits-all approach falls short. This diversity of needs calls for personalised care technology solutions tailored to each individual’s need...

Debunking Myths About Technology Enabled Care

Myths can prevent care providers utilising TEC solutions that could really change care, 2iC-Care address and dispel some of the most common misconceptions about technology enabled care.

Six Service Users of Technology Enabled Care Infographic

TEC has the potential to cater to a wide range of service users with diverse needs. 2iC-Care have created an infographic about TEC being beyond a one-size-fits-all solution for the elderly.

Andi & Companion Watch Seamlessly Integrate Care into Everyday Life

2iC-Care's brand-new integration with Companion Watch, a cutting-edge wearable care technology, that promotes independence, safety, and reassurance delivers interoperability and personalisation. 

Sony UK Technology Centre & 2iC-Care Manufacturing Agreement

2iC-Care are proud to announce that the business has entered into an exciting manufacturing agreement with Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC).

Budgeting for Better Care: Culture Change for TEC

The final part of the Budgeting for Better Care action plan series looks at how culture change will allow for better technology enabled care adoption and improve spending inefficiency within care serv...

Analogue to Digital FAQs

To address some common questions and concerns surrounding the digital switchover, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions:

What is an analogue telecare system?

Analogue telecare systems communicate using continuous signals over copper wire. These systems can include alarms and motion sensors, as well as essential infrastructure systems used in residential care settings, such as emergency alarms in lifts, telephone landlines.

Can I wait till 2027?

Whilst the complete shutdown of analogue isn’t until the 31st of January 2027, now is the time to act! It can take up to 6 months to complete a full transfer of services to digital. As we get closer to the deadline, more organisations (and not just care services) will be seeking to transfer their systems, change takes time so acting now means you can be ready for the switch off.

Will the switch-off be all at once?

No. There are certain parts of the country that are already transferring over from analogue to digital. Speak to BT to learn if your region is transferring or wait to be contacted before the 31st of January 2027.

Why is the UK transitioning from analogue to digital telecare systems?

The UK's communications infrastructure is being upgraded to modern digital networks, necessitating the phase-out of aging analogue telephone systems by the end of January 2027. This transition is essential to maintain reliable, future-proof telecare and technology enabled care services.

What happens if I don't transition to a digital telecare solution?

Failing to migrate to a digital solution before the analogue network is decommissioned will result in service disruptions, compromising the safety and well-being of telecare service users.

How long will the transition from analogue telecare to digital take?

The timeline for the transition can vary depending on the size and complexity of your organisation, as well as the readiness of your existing infrastructure. However, with proper planning and support, the process can be managed effectively to minimise disruptions.

Will I need to replace all my existing telecare equipment?

In most cases, legacy analogue telecare devices will need to be replaced with digital alternatives. However, if choosing to use Andi, it is enabled with RF868 frequency and can connect to most legacy peripherals. Our experts at 2iC-Care can assess your current setup and provide tailored recommendations to ensure a smooth transition.

How can I ensure the digital transition is seamless for my service users?

Partnering with an experienced provider like 2iC-Care and leveraging solutions like Andi can help ensure a seamless transition for your service users. We prioritise comprehensive training, robust implementation plans, and ongoing support to minimise disruptions.

Will digital telecare solutions be more expensive than my current analogue system?

While there may be upfront costs associated with upgrading infrastructure and equipment, digital telecare solutions like Andi offer long-term cost savings through increased efficiency, proactive care delivery, and reduced operational expenses.

For more detailed information or personalised guidance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team.

Talk to us

In conclusion, the transition from analogue telecare to digital technology enabled care is a transformative journey that presents both challenges and opportunities. By embracing innovative solutions like Andi from 2iC-Care, telecare providers and local authorities can future-proof their services, enhance care delivery, and empower their communities with technology enabled care solutions tailored for the digital age.

Key Takeaways:

  • The UK's communications infrastructure is transitioning to digital networks, necessitating the adoption of digital telecare solutions by the end of January 2027.
  • Digital telecare offers improved reliability, proactive care delivery, increased efficiency, and personalised support for service users.
  • Andi, 2iC-Care's flagship digital telecare solution, is designed to seamlessly guide organisations through the switchover process.
  • Leveraging industry resources, expert guidance, and comprehensive implementation support is crucial for a successful digital transition.
  • Embracing digital telecare solutions like Andi positions organisations at the forefront of innovative, user-centric care delivery.

Remember, at 2iC-Care, we are committed to being your trusted partner throughout this transformative journey, ensuring your telecare services remain robust, compliant, and aligned with the evolving needs of your community.

Technology Enabled Care Glossary

The TEC world uses lots of jargon, here are some terms that you may be unfamiliar with:

Analogue Connection: A form of communication over standard copper telephone lines using audible tones and pauses (DTMF tones).

Digital Report: Communication over an internet or cellular data connection, transmitting data in the form of packets.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): The traditional analogue telephone network using copper wires.

DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency): The tones generated when pressing keys on a telephone keypad, used for communication in analogue systems.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address): A unique numerical identifier assigned to devices for communication over the internet or digital networks.

SIM (Subscriber Identity Module): A circuit chip in a plastic card that enables cellular devices to connect and operate on mobile networks.

ATA Gateway (Analogue Telephone Adapter): A device that acts as a gateway, connecting analogue devices to digital networks.

Cellular Network: A communication network created by mobile phone towers and base stations, providing wireless connectivity to devices.

Fibre Network: A broadband network that uses fibre-optic cables to transmit data, providing internet connectivity.

IP Server (Internet Protocol Server): A computer server that receives and processes digital reports from telecare devices over the internet.

SCAIP (Social Care Alarm Internet Protocol): A digital reporting standard used by telecare devices to connect with alarm receiving centres (ARCs) over the internet.

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service): A term referring to the traditional analogue telephone service over copper wires.

IoT (Internet of Things): Interconnected devices and sensors that can communicate and exchange data over the internet, enabling advanced monitoring and automation in telecare services.

ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre): A monitoring centre that receives alarm signals and alerts from telecare systems, dispatching appropriate assistance when needed.

QSF (Quality Standards Framework): A set of industry standards and best practices established by the Telecare Services Association (TSA) for the provision of technology enabled care services.

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