Expanding your organization’s footprint into a new country or region can be challenging. Providers that service your needs in one area may not be able to offer the same level of service in another. US-based Brightwater Senior Living encountered this first-hand when they partnered with a technology service provider based in the US to design and implement IT networks within their Canadian locations. After experiencing difficulties surrounding availability and proximity for service, Brightwater realized they would be better served using a Canadian-based provider that could efficiently service and manage the IT infrastructure consistently.

Hillman AV, whom they had previously contracted with for technology service and support, was tasked with expanding network capabilities and building an IT infrastructure moving forward at Brightwater Senior Living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After thoroughly reviewing the existing network and wifi infrastructure, Hillman AV designed and integrated a cost-effective, robust, scalable, and user-friendly system.

The new network infrastructure addressed two of Brightwater’s largest concerns: convenience and safety. Hillman AV conducted a thorough review of the existing system to better understand the current configuration and its requirements. After meticulously collecting and analyzing the data, Hillman AV was able to replace everything with a custom, preprogrammed system, developed by Canadian company Custom Integration Solutions. The design also took into account how the system would need to interact with other building-based systems, including Surveillance, VOIP, and Card Access, and was custom-built with those specifications in mind.

The system, which includes 56 wireless access points and 6 managed network switches supporting over 250 ports and more than 100 users, was specially made with built-in firewalls and filtering to defend against malware and outside attacks, while keeping users away from known or potentially dangerous websites. With residents and employees both needing access, it was important to maintain separation and  avoid accidental contact, ensuring residents were kept from corporate devices or systems. Hillman AV provided a customized dashboard for Brightwater, showing the activity of the firewall and filtering service, which gives them the ability to monitor everything internally and choose which sites and activities to block on the network. All of these tools relieve Brightwater’s IT staff from dealing with these issues on their own, allowing them to focus on continuing to grow and improve other technology needs within the facility.

In an environment where caregivers or residents may not be comfortable interacting with or using technology, system usability was of the utmost importance. Hillman AV helped Brightwater stay on top of staff training by providing detailed training resources and guides, which were incredibly helpful during times of turnover. “Hillman AV brings in enough technology to keep us current without over complicating things,” said Joel Sauter, Director of Maintenance for Brightwater Senior Living. “Things have to be easy enough to pass the grandparent test, which is actually literal in our case.”

Due to the proven ease of use and speed in which the system can be installed, Hillman AV and Brightwater hope to integrate the system into future new builds or existing buildings that have yet to be upgraded, helping bolster consistency amongst their Canadian-based locations. “As Hillman diversifies what they do, it allows us to expand their skills in our building, including existing buildings,” said Sauter. “They are incredibly innovative when it comes to new technology and have surpassed our expectations at each and every turn.”