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Macquarie Telecom supports disability services provider Rocky Bay

By Catherine Knowles, Mon 5 Jul 2021

Macquarie Telecom is working to support Perth disability services provider, Rocky Bay.

The telco is focused on helping to improve efficiencies, digitise traditional manual processes and aid in neuro rehabilitation assistive technologies by leveraging mobile, SD-WAN, and NBN connectivity.

Rocky Bay is focused on providing choice and independence to people living with disability across Western Australia.

The organisation employs more than 1,000 people in roles including support work, occupational therapy, dietetics, nursing and accommodation services.

Macquarie has enabled Rocky Bay to improve mobile communication between staff, transition therapy appointments online to compensate for increased demand, and launch a number of assistive technologies in WA designed to assist people regain their independence.

Last year, Rocky Bay became the first provider in WA to offer the NeuroNode Trilogy system. The NeuroNode is a small, non-invasive wireless electromyography (EMG) sensor that is placed on the skin over the muscle.

When a person attempts to move that muscle, the NeuroNode detects their EMG signals and uses them to allow control of a computer or communication device.

The NeuroNode Trilogy system also allows people to use eye-gaze control technology to operate devices. The system uses infrared dual lights which shine on the eyeballs and triangulate the data to predict where someone is looking to locate a cursor.

The user can use one of these methods or both together by moving a cursor with their eyes and selecting or clicking using the NeuroNode switch.

Along with this system, Rocky Bay also has various eye gaze devices that can be trialled and used by customers.

In response to COVID-19, Macquarie has also enabled a spate of updates to workplace processes at Rocky Bay.

This includes improving mobile communication to automate shift covering and switching between staff, who can now also exchange urgent information about customers; as well as a transition from in-person therapy to a virtual, tele-therapy format.

Rocky Bay CFO Adam Maxwell says, “Between April 2020 and May 2021, we’ve successfully conducted 2,903 tele-therapy sessions, and the new format has garnered positive feedback from customers.

“We would not be able to pioneer emerging care technologies and make this kind of transition without Macquarie’s services, expertise and support.”

Maxwell says the process upgrades and innovations are improving the lives of customers and staff at Rocky Bay.

He says, “The NeuroNode and eye-gaze control technology sound incredibly futuristic, but they are already here in Western Australia and making such a difference in the lives of our customers and their families. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the capabilities of assistive technology."

Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton says, “The work Rocky Bay does is nothing short of remarkable. Since 1938 it has made such a difference in the lives of Western Australia’s most vulnerable and their loved ones, and it’s constantly looking for ways to expand its capabilities and help more people.

"It has been a privilege to work alongside the organisation and play a small part in enriching the lives of so many.”

Rocky Bay will continue working with Macquarie Telecom to roll out a number of other technologies to support those living with a disability.

These will include artificial intelligence to predict when certain customer behaviours will arise, such as seizures, and initiate contact with a carer ahead of events, as well as virtual reality in customer homes.

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