Feeling the pressure of a global emergency
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a state of urgency in public services, particularly healthcare. As nations the world over struggle to cope with an increase in the number of infected patients, there has been a visible shortage of medical resources, including facilities, personnel and equipment.
The UK’s National Health Services (NHS), planned six emergency facilities during the pandemic. The customer opened the London NHS Nightingale Hospital, one of the emergency facilities, on April 3, 2020. NHS built the hospital within nine days, at ExCel London, an exhibition and convention center in London. The hospital has the capacity to hold over 4,000 beds. NHS designed the facility amidst concern that their hospitals could be overwhelmed with the increasing number of patients.
The Challenge: Tall order, short span of time
As an existing space was being repurposed to serve as an emergency health facility, NHS needed to address several concerns. These included unhindered power supply, overseeing design and architectural specifications and patient safety procedures, and robust telecommunications. Managing all the concerns under tight timelines was a key challenge.
Openreach—the UK-based telecommunications giant—was assigned the task of providing network connectivity within the London NHS Nightingale Hospital. It looked to TCS for the design of a critical network circuit for this. TCS has been a partner of Openreach for over 12 years, building business networks that connect thousands of schools, hospitals, financial institutions, mobile masts and large businesses in the UK. It designs Openreach’s fiber broadband and copper network for millions of such premises across the country.
The Solution: super priority circuit
The ‘super priority’ circuit for the hospital was designed within just one day. The primary focus when building the circuit was to ensure it had resilient back-up options. It was decided that an ethernet access direct circuit (EAD) be designed to provide point-to-point data connectivity between sites in the healthcare provider’s network—including their supply chain, emergency services such as paramedic teams, and administrative headquarters. The circuit would also enable a variety of critical activities such as connecting the Nightingale to other hospitals, linking patient records in real time, enabling WiFi for medical devices, linking at least 1,000 voice-over-internet phones, and providing cellular connectivity to help on-duty medical staff stay connected to each other.
What Made it happen