​​MacTel partners with non-profit Civic Disability Services to enable independent living

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​​MacTel partners with non-profit Civic Disability Services to enable independent living

Macquarie Telecom today has formed a partnership with Australian not-for-profit Civic Disability Services to create a digital foundation to support independent living for clients.

As well as providing greater independence for individuals with disability and the elderly, programs such as these free up time for essential support workers that can be better used providing care and assistance.

Civic’s mission is to create real change in individual lives and the community, ensuring economic and social inclusion, lifelong education, access to safe homes and healthcare.

The organisation said that a commitment to technology has allowed it to extend its impact.

Civic has been able to use MacTel’s NBN partnership, SD-WAN technology and mobile services as a foundation in 55 sites to accelerate its use of assistive technologies (AT).

This includes safety-related sensors, building access technology and climate control, as well as AT for individual clients to support them in independent living.

Civic also partners with providers such as Harvey Norman to deliver these kinds of solutions. 

Civic Disability Services chief information officer Celsus Joseph provided an example of how AT can benefit those the organisation serves.

“If a client gets up in the middle of the night, ambient lighting is automatically activated to guide them. It’s actually quite a simple innovation, but it can make a world of difference for our clients, and Macquarie has given us a rock-solid technology backbone to make it all work together,” he said. 

The physical technology also provides useful data that Civic is aiming to track and use to help clients illustrate the supports, and therefore funding, that they need from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

“We work with clients to help them submit outcomes to the NDIS to secure their funding,” Joseph said. 

“It can often be hard to quantify the benefits or the need for certain funding. Being able to show how that data identifies and solves day-to-day challenges will be so important in highlighting the value clients are getting and will justify the support they need.”

Macquarie’s SD-WAN service is enabling Civic to prioritise the services being used on its network, such as prioritising voice and video communication over video streaming apps, while still ensuring those apps are always available for clients, to support a greater need for online connections during travel restrictions.

Civic’s clients and staff also gain secure access to the internet, as all traffic filters through the organisation’s firewall.

“Our clients are accessing an increasing number of classes and social events online due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” continued Joseph. 

“Clients access classes via our online platform, Civic@Home, via their ipads. Macquarie’s 4G sims and NBN connectivity are vital to this. We expect to transition to 5G eventually which will deliver even more capabilities.”

The 4G and NBN connectivity has helped avoid unnecessary costs, such as inflated costs for connections by carriers that may own the contract to a whole apartment block. 

“Civic is setting a high bar for delivering better outcomes and living arrangements to people in Australia with a disability,” said Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton. 

“With the right assistive living technology and network backbone in place, providers can enable more independent living and move away from outdated processes. Think about an alarm going off to alert an entire home and multiple staff; now that can be a targeted alert created only when needed and sent straight to the appropriate caregiver. This can greatly improve the staff experience too, and ensure they’re freed up to do what they do best.”

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