Ascom and Irbema
Irbema has always been active in the fields of healthcare and business communication. This was the origin of the well-established relationship with Ascom, an international provider of solutions ICT in healthcare and enterprise. The partnership with Ascom has distinguished the story of Irbema from the earliest years of its history, representing an important opportunity for confrontation and stimulus for constant growth.
Thanks to the relationship that has been going on for more than 30 years, there have been numerous occasions for interaction between the two companies, especially during the last year marked by the emergency caused by Covid-19. In this sense, one of the key figures is certainly Umberto Valente, Wireless Solutions Sales & Marketing of Ascom Italy with whom we had the opportunity to discuss various topics related to the current situation in the Italian market and future prospects.
Good morning Umberto, the last year has brought many changes in all sectors, have there been any for Ascom as well?
"There is no doubt that the pandemic crisis we are currently experiencing has brought about major changes also and above all in the way we respond to the needs of our customers, particularly in the hospital/healthcare sector. Many facilities found themselves faced with a dramatic situation and needed to implement, often as quickly and functionally as possible, solutions that, like ours, allowed them to securely optimise communication flows between members of a mobile care staff and also between the staff themselves and the patients. This has meant that Ascom has had to become as proactive and reactive as possible by also creating solutions that did not exist before, or at least were not designed for the need that the pandemic has brought to light".
"As for the enterprise world the situation was quite different and the changes were less obvious and less complicated to manage. However, even in this sector, some of the features of our mobile solutions (one for all: the sanitisation of our devices) proved successful in meeting the demand for additional 'protection' and security that the market demanded and still demands.
How have Ascom products helped hospitals and RSAs during this complicated period?
"Our solutions have supported hospitals mainly in 2 areas: in critical care environments (Intensive care) thanks to our Digistat software solution, we have contributed to the improvement of the level of care and patient safety, while in the wards with our mobile and nurse call solutions we have contributed to the optimisation of communication flows by enabling more efficient and rational workflows. This period of pandemic crisis has forcefully underlined the importance of having a true healthcare platform in our portfolio of solutions that allows us to meet the multiple needs of a hospital in its different care environments.
"As for the RSA our solutions have helped to increase the safety of residents through functionality and features such as sanitisation and versatility of use that have made them important tools in the hands of care staff.
What about companies and industries? What advantages did Ascom's corporate communication devices offer?
"As far as the enterprise world is concerned, without a doubt the feature that emerged the most was the complete sanitisation of our devices which has fully responded to the increased security needs of companies. The issue of optimising workflows has also been addressed by our alarm management solutions, which have helped to create business and production environments in which data, events and alarms can be shared quickly and functionally to the benefit of security and the maintenance of high productivity standards.
Ascom is present all over the world, but what are the peculiarities of the Italian market?
"Ascom has offices in almost every corner of the globe, from the United States to Australia via the major European countries and Asia, of course. Unlike all the other countries where we are present, about the 80% in the Italian market consists of SMEs of which almost 50% from micro enterprises with up to 10 employees. This means that most of the projects we implement are very small compared to those in other countries. In addition to this, we can say that in Italy there is still no real culture about worker safety and optimising the workflows of users who are constantly moving around their facilities. We are creating culture with a consultative approach both through the channel and directly through information development'.
Optimising workflows is a crucial objective for Ascom, what are the most interesting solutions in this field?
"For this issue without doubt the most interesting solution is our Unite software which enables the rapid sharing of events and alarms that can significantly impact both worker safety and the profitability of modern industrial and manufacturing environments. This is of course coupled with our purpose-built devices for both healthcare and enterprise environments. All our devices have features such as man-down and no movement which increase the level of safety of operators, especially those who are operating in isolated mode, as well as a robustness and reliability that allows them to become important tools in supporting the daily care and work activities of mobile teams'.
What distinguishes them from competitor products?
"What distinguishes us most from our competitors is not a single solution, but rather what we can offer for both the healthcare and enterprise sectors; integrated and complete solution platforms that meet the needs of both the most complex hospital facilities and large industrial plants. In addition, we can boast a high level of expertise in topics such as optimisation of workflows and the safety of workers and patients, factors that qualify us as a reliable and professional interlocutor for all those realities that are looking for partners with high added value'.
What are your ambitions and most important innovations for the future?
"The main objective is to develop integrationnot only with telephony and networking infrastructures, which collect information of all kinds (alarms, alerts, tasks, etc.) from customers' work processes. In the near future in terms of ambitions, we expect to significantly increase our market share in the area of thelong-term care (nursing homes and RSAs in general), while maintaining a high level of attention and sensitivity to our customers' healthcare and enterprise needs. At the solution level during the year we will launch a new device model especially suitable for high-stress work environments of use that will complement and enrich our already wide range of mobile workflow optimisation solutions'.
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