In a post COVID-19 world, the prospect of going into a care home is much less attractive and people who want to stay independent for longer are turning to technology as the answer. Oysta’s Pearl device, enabled by Pelion IoT connectivity, offers a round-the clock “cloak of care” for the end user, connecting the individual to the monitoring facility and to their family.

Oysta provides a managed service delivering remote telecare solutions to end users, primarily the elderly or adults with learning difficulties, that they’ve termed “VIPs” (Vulnerable Independent People). By providing consistent accurate information to the family and carers of the VIPs, they aim to alleviate the stresses of constant monitoring and surveillance of a loved one, offering greater peace of mind.

“If you haven’t got a reliable connection, you haven’t got anything…Uptime is non-negotiable for our system.”

Emma Marlow, Managing DirectorOysta

The solution

The Oysta Pearl devices are carried or worn by VIPs and features SOS buttons, fall sensors, reminder alarms and safe zone monitoring. They provide a range of services through their IntelliCare platform, which transmits all the alarms and data from the devices to 24/7 monitoring facilities.

Their goal is to keep their end users comfortable at home for longer, avoiding care homes whilst providing extra peace of mind for the VIP and their family. This not only greatly reduces costs for the user and their families, it improves their wellbeing, in terms of socialization and interaction with the outside world, and keeps them fitter, healthier and happier. Recent data has shown that, with the use of their connected devices, Oysta customers are able to stay in their own home for up to 3 years longer than they would have without the service.

With such critically important data being transmitted, Oysta had to ensure that their devices were always connected and looked to Arm to provide the right connectivity management platform. They were looking for resilient and flexible connectivity options, so they could leverage technologies such as GSM, satellite,
WiFi, 3G/4G and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), depending on their needs.

We partnered with Pelion because nobody else could provide the solution we needed: a SIM that was able to roam across networks and provide seamless connectivity.”

Mario Zuccaro, Founder and CEO – Oysta

The benefit

The Oysta Pearl is a connected device containing a range of sensors, continuously connected and sending important data to their control rooms. Reliability and uptime are key; their customers are vulnerable people, which means it is critical to act as soon as possible during an emergency or when abnormal movement is detected. There is absolutely no margin for error so their connectivity must be guaranteed. Pelion provides a true roaming SIM, which meant that even in areas with patchy connectivity, the device could connect across different networks, which was necessary for reliability.

Pelion’s platform provides easy access to all the relevant useful information regarding the connectivity of a user’s device, such as simple queries around data/minute usage and connection data which shows when the device is connecting. These insights help Oysta discover and solve issues from an end-toend management point of view. By combining the IntelliCare platform and Pelion, they can analyze the data themselves to troubleshoot and resolve problems, saving time and labor

“We’ve had a fantastic experience working with Pelion, the collaboration works really well and when support is needed, the speed of response is great. It’s difficult not to struggle occasionally with connectivity, but Pelion have been a solid partner to address any issues.”

Mario Zuccaro

Security is built into the device, SIM and connection

Oysta found that there was a significant lack of knowledge in the healthcare market when it came to technology. Security is a critical concern, yet they discovered that competitors were using a standard SIM on a standard platform with standard APN. Oysta’s devices are independently tested for security, with a focus on securing both the device and SIM. For a complete end-to-end solution, they turned to Pelion to help bolster their already secure device with equally as trusted connectivity.

Oysta support a range of critical use cases with extremely sensitive data being transmitted – they’re currently the biggest mobile telecare provider in the UK, but also provide service in Spain and Portugal for clients such as the Red Cross, MAPFRE insurance and the Catalan police. In Africa, they’ve deployed solutions for border forces in areas that are fraught with conflicts, which must be protected by the strongest possible security. For them, security is not an afterthought; it is a critical capability, built-in from the start.

“We chose to work with Pelion to leverage their security expertise. We’ve worked together to develop secure infrastructure, ensuring that connectivity between device and our IntelliCare platform cannot be compromised.”

Mario Zuccaro

Spportive, flexible partnership with Pelion

Oysta has relied on Pelion’s testing facilities to ensure that their devices were working as intended and connecting to the network reliably. Any identified issues were quickly addressed and the team at Pelion provided the necessary support to help Oysta accomplish their goals.

In terms of contracts and billing, Oysta quickly discovered another benefit provided by Pelion’s flexibility around minutes and allocated contracts. Data usage could be spread to different customers, where there may be occasional spikes in activity. For Oysta’s end users, predictable running costs are essential, so streamlined billing is hugely beneficial for both Oysta and their customers

“The flexibility that Pelion gives us in terms of usage billing provides significant savings as well as ensuring predictable costs.”

Emma Marlow

Future plans

The Oysta Pearl II was recently released, with a range of supporting devices for personal data collection such as temperature and blood pressure. Additionally, new NB-IoT IoT sensors are currently being trialled by Oysta’s customers. These environmental sensors (movement, smoke, humidity, temperature, air quality, pressure etc) are all connected via Pelion to their IntelliCare platform and, when combined with
the Pearl II, provide a unified view of the vulnerable person and their surroundings. With a wealth of data being transmitted by their devices, Oysta can act predictively to provide better outcomes and reduce false alerts to emergency services.

They see a range of benefits from using cellular and LPWA to connect their new devices: less installation needed, ease of connectivity and most importantly, no single point of failure. The guaranteed uptime and resilient infrastructure that Pelion provides means that their devices will be reliably connected 24/7.

They’re also seeing an increased rate of deployment following the impact of COVID-19. When the pandemic was affecting the UK, several potential customers contacted Oysta with a key focus on freeing up hospital beds across the country, to cope with increased admittance rates. Within two weeks, working alongside their suppliers and Pelion, they were able to quickly ship more than 2,500 devices to various clients, such as hospital trusts, local authorities and care homes. Those devices were then deployed to individuals, empowering them to return home with confidence and increase hospital capacity

“During the COVID-19 response, the team at Pelion pulled out all the stops to make sure we could fulfil the needs of our clients. .”

Mario Zuccaro

“Our industry has had to react to provide products and services for the crisis. We foresee that the initial wave will subside, but the “new normal” will result in continuing high demand for remote healthcare monitoring. Vulnerable people will want to stay out of care homes and potentially infectious situations. We’re also seeing a big step forward in the way that government and local authorities approach purchasing and trialling new technology.”

Emma Marlow

As the number of deployed Oysta devices continues to grow to address their industry needs, they’re confident that Pelion will scale alongside their business.

Start your free IoT connectivity trial

Pelion’s IoT SIM card offers easy, free connectivity for 60 days. Build, connect, test and get ready to complete the final step of bringing your IoT project to market.