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2008 Best On Campus
By Susan Nunziata

Submit Your Entry For The 2009 Mobilizer Awards here.

Henry Ford Health System is already reaping the benefits of a project that will ultimately give mobile workers across its multiple campuses access to electronic medical records at the point of patient care. It started with the deployment of an enterprise wireless infrastructure at its campus in Detroit. That 2.1 million-square-foot complex treats 2.2 million patients per year.

A two-story addition to the Henry Ford West Pavilion, slated to open in 2009, will add 80 private patient rooms and 20 intensive care unit (ICU) beds to the complex. Further wireless LAN (WLAN) deployments are planned across HFHS campuses that together comprise an additional 3.1 million square feet. The new construction is part of a five-year, $300 million investment in HFHS's Detroit campus. HFHS is undertaking the deployment of a $92 million electronic medical record (EMR) application, CarePlus Next Generation, that facilitates point-of-care access to patient data.

A Siemens HiPath Wireless LAN was deployed throughout the Detroit campus. Its 125-bed ICU implemented the first clinical application -- iMDsoft MetaVision ICU -- to leverage the new Wi-Fi capabilities. So far, 40 wireless Workstations On Wheels have been deployed in ICU and 75 more are planned for the general practice units.

Additional mobile clinical applications are planned, including the eventual use of RFID solutions for asset tracking. The network also enables the facility to offer Guest Access service, which allows patients to use their laptops and other wireless devices throughout the campus.

While the original deployment was 802.11a/b/g, subsequent deployments will use 802.11n. The full, 60-site rollout will be completed by 2Q 2010. 802.11n "is going to enhance our devices," says Ed Ivone, HFHS Director of Networks & Telecommunciations. "Plus, because the range of the antennae is more powerful, it will help us in terms of cost. You don't have to use as dense a deployment" as you do with 802.11a/b/g.

Making It All Possible

The Detroit campus deployment encompasses 1,300 APs, 865 of which are wireless voice and data carriers, 497 wireless sensors, 232 Nortel 5520 PoE 1 gigabyte EDGE network switches, and 12 wireless controllers. Siemens' thin AP layer architecture, and the fact that the system can be centrally managed, were two factors that appealed to Ivone.

The Siemens Wireless network cost approximately $1.9 million. Instead of ROI, HFHS looks at the "return on care" with the following results:

>    Improved patient care – I.T. systems made available at the point of care provides more timely access to information.

>    Improved patient satisfaction – Patients and visitors can keep connected with family and friends, which can help with the healing process

>    Potentially lower capital and operating costs thanks to fewer fixed network locations and devices.

Ivone envisions a fully mobile future, including fixed-mobile convergence for HFHS. "The wired network is really going to be the backup to the wireless network," he says. "Everybody is working on wireless, everybody wants wireless, as a matter of fact, they want video working on wireless."

>Honorable Mention: Anthony Marano
A WLAN & FMC solution keeps the calls coming for busy produce distributor

The 58-year-old Anthony Marano serves Chicago and the Midwest area with fresh produce from its state-of-the-art distribution center, which occupies 400,000 square feet near downtown Chicago. The company has been a pioneer in mobility, deploying its first solution in 2000.

The facility has 75 receiving docks to receive fresh produce and is open seven days a week. Each day, it logs up to 3,000 orders for its highly perishable products; nearly 90% of these orders require same-day delivery.

The fast-paced business needed a reliable real-time voice communications solution that would eliminate revenue-draining missed calls. In addition, it needed to accommodate growing demand for mobile data applications, says CTO Chris Nowak.

The company turned to Meru Networks to deploy a wireless LAN throughout its offices and warehouse. The company needed to move off an 802.11a system it had been using for three years that was technically still a Beta system. It required specialized dual-mode 802.11a/cellular handsets that were not available commercially. Workers use dual-mode BlackBerry 8320 and Nokia e51, e71 and 6310 smartphones for voice and email. The handsets run client software that allows them to support key features of the company's Avaya PBX, such as call transfer and forwarding and four-digit  dialing.

Nowak says he wanted a single-channel WLAN architecture so that calls could be made and received reliably by personnel in motion. He turned to Meru AP208 802.11a/b/g access points (APs) and a pair of MC3000 controllers. Employees can now roam in and out of facilities without dropping phone calls, and can seamlessly switch from wireless to PBX via a new fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) solution from T-Mobile. In fact, the facility is the first time the T-Mobile FMC solution was ever deployed.

>Honorable Mention: MW Brands
Food processing company meets wireless needs of its global campus

MW Brands sells packaged seafood products under various brand names throughout Europe. The 4,000-employee company has factories in Ghana and Seychelles, Africa, and offices in eight European countries. Its global "campus" encompasses 860 I.T.-supported workers, including 200 remote workers, spanning two continents. The company needed secure global access to connect workers across its many locations.

The company turned to BT as its global carrier on both cellular and WiFi. Working with BT France Mobility, MW Brands implemented the BT MobileXpress solution to build a system that could allow its employees to work anywhere, everywhere at any time. The solution includes 3G datacards, managed firewalls from Checkpoint and Nokia, managed strong identification from RSA, managed personal firewall from ISS, managed VPN IPSEC from Cisco, managed URL filtering and malicious code analysis from Websense, managed proxy from Bluecoat, managed SMTP Relay/anti-spam, anti-spoof services from Symantec/Brightmail, Cisco Communicator soft-phone software for laptops, and 3G cellular service from Orange.

"Before the 3G cards, our users could only do their reporting at the end of the day,"says Stephane Dupuy, CIO of MW Brands. "Traffic jams [on the network] were huge. They could be working after 8 p.m., so we didn't have I.T. support for them. It was really a nightmare for them to do reporting, read emails and provide real-time data. Today, it's possible."

Productivity improvements were measured in reduction of calls to the company's I.T. helpdesk, as well as improved business productivity because eployees were no longer wasting time trying and failing to connect to the company's VPN. The range of wireless options available, including 3G, ADSL, TRC and WiFi, facilitates real-time data entries, allowing quick strategic decisions to be made. In addition, the speed of communication with field sales staff improved.

See who won in the other categories:




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