I recently had a conversation with someone who represents a HealthCare facility and we talked about Real Time Location Systems. This is really interesting technology found in many hospitals. It uses wireless technology (WiFi like what we have in our homes for Internet access) and is complemented with transmission capabilities using infrared or ultrasound for more precise location needs. Generally it is used to help locate persons, like patients, or hospital equipment, such as IV pumps. IV pumps are of course very important for a patient and they can actually be centrally monitored. There are a variety of other applications that this technology can be used for, like emergency panic buttons for the patient to the nurse, or monitoring and managing the maintenance schedules for hospital equipment.
RTLS is not what I wanted to write about, but the concept of a converged network versus a non- converged network. I have always been a proponent for converged networks because many different types of applications can be transmitted over the same technology platform. The bottom line is significant cost savings. Why buy separate equipment to handle separate applications?
Many HealthCare facilities (hospitals) have existing WiFi networks that handle PC traffic and voice from nurses, doctors, and even patients and their visitors. As a network architect, it makes more sense to me to expand an existing WiFi network to handle the very small, low data traffic from RTLS devices than building a completely different network to handle these sets of applications. However, this particular healthcare facility chose to build two separate networks. I wonder, when is it not good to converge?