Case Study // A communication solution to be proud of

Author -  Labyrinth Solutions

When you have 730 residents living in one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest retirement villages, in a range of accommodation circumstances, spread across multiple buildings, the sheer scale presents major communication challenges.

Add into the mix the varying stages of ageing, (with the average being 85 years old) and special needs of residents, along with a very busy team of support staff responsible for the day to day operations of the village, it is no wonder traditional methods of paper, noticeboards and whiteboards were a big barrier to being administratively efficient.

Information changes so quickly that by the time boards were scribbled on or word of mouth passed messages on, it was easily out of date and the system was best described as ‘cumbersome’.

What was life like before Labyrinth’s digital communication solution was introduced to the village?

There was a lack of awareness amongst residents and visitors to the village about daily events and plenty of phone calls to reception to query information. On top of this there were delays in getting important information about maintenance and other matters of health and safety out to the entire village. Proud of the positive changes the digital solutions have brought, Village Manager, Dean Jackson, exclaimed “No – you can’t take it away now!” when asked what he would do without it.

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Faced with the issues described above, Ryman Healthcare, the owners of Edmund Hillary Retirement Village, was looking for an innovative solution to improve communications with residents, staff and visitors to the village. Corporate Affairs Manager, David King was tasked with finding a digital communications provider that ticked all the boxes and Labyrinth was head and shoulder above the rest because it offered “the best and simplest application” says David.

David comments that one of the key factors in choosing Labyrinth to install 18 screens across the village and provide a sophisticated content management system to push live information out, was the fact it is web based technology. He also spoke enthusiastically about the flexibility of the system. The screens are positioned

strategically in common areas within the main buildings; including reception, foyers, the café etc. as well as providing an in-room TV feed to residents’ apartments. In addition, there is a screen in the staff lunch room for communicating key information to staff.

Village Manager, Dean, is equally impressed with the flexibility of the digital communication solution “Being able to set all the screens up differently is fantastic” he says, as they often have one lot of screens showing information on events and other happenings around the village, another set displaying entertainment features such as news, weather and quizzes and another set providing that personal touch, including messages to celebrate things like birthdays, anniversaries etc. “It provides a real feel good factor for residents” he comments, adding that even he thought “how nice!” when his own birthday was recognised on the screens. 

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Events Co-ordinator, Michelle Forman, is responsible for the day to day input of information and running of the screens. When asked how easy Michelle finds the system to use she responded with “It’s easy. I’m not an IT person at all.” Michelle believes that they’re a great addition to the village “I think they are fabulous” she says, adding that even though they took a little while for residents to get used to, they are now “making a habit of looking at the screens” and are popular with residents who don’t have to leave the comfort of their own room to access up to minute information about what’s going on in the village. In fact, residents are even helping her keep the content current and relevant by requesting to add birthdays and other messages to fellow residents. She further explains “they have been a great tool for improving the accuracy and recency of information”, removing a lot of frustration around the village. Michelle has also found the support service provided by Labyrinth great and professional “they’re all very lovely and if there’s a problem, they’ll sort it”. The screens have not only been a great visual aid for residents, “they have also been an excellent marketing and sales tool” comments Village Manager Dean when thinking about the increased awareness visitors to the village have about what is on offer. He feels that it is easy for businesses to think that they do a good job of communicating what they do well, however this communication system has provided a great platform for publicising that more widely.

David, from Ryman Healthcare nicely sums up the positive impact this communication solution has had on residents, staff and visitors in the village by saying “If we took it away now there would be a riot”! And he is looking forward to working with Labyrinth in the future to extend their digital capabilities within the Group even further.

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