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Hassle-Free WiFi for Exeter's COVID-19 Vaccination Centre

3 minute read | 10/02/2021

Hassle-Free WiFi for Exeter's COVID-19 Vaccination Centre

Adaptability and perseverance are two terms that have defined the community effort surrounding the Coronavirus crisis. Devon, much like the rest of the country, has been continually tested throughout the pandemic and none more so than as we entered the third national lockdown due to a severe spike in cases at the dawn of the New Year. 

The installation of the county’s Nightingale hospital, testing centres and now vaccination centres have been a testament to the strength of the NHS’ responsiveness as well as that of the companies, communities and individuals who work to support them.

Since March 2020, Exeter’s Westpoint Exhibition Centre has been somewhat sedate in the absence of the hustle and bustle that usually floods its halls with events from wedding extravaganzas to the South West Home and Garden Show. Working with swcomms, the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust moved to make use of the venue, turning the Main Hall into a hub for Exeter’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. 

A hurdle in the path to promptly transform the large exhibition space into a vaccination centre is the provision of a secure and reliable NHS WiFi connection for staff and patients. The NHS depend upon an internet connection that is both safe and protected to track vaccinations, access patient records and maintain a social link for both staff downtime and visitor engagement. 

Local WiFi systems specialist, WiFi SPARK, was able to provide a rapid response to the centre’s needs just a stone’s throw from their headquarters in Exeter’s Matford Business Park. Having already been providing their SPARK® Solution to Westpoint since 2004, WiFi SPARK was quick to offer this expansion of support for the smooth opening of the vaccination centre on the 4th of January. 

The SPARK® Solution, already in place at Westpoint, worked through a systematic approach. Firstly, the team at Westpoint were able to choose the underlying infrastructure from which their solution would be built; choosing the type of installation and the gateway, all to suit their individual requirements. From this, the SPARK® Platform was introduced. 

WiFi SPARK’s managed service includes everything from design to installation and support. In the second stage, the company created an entirely custom User Experience that optimises the visitor experience whilst showcasing the Westpoint brand. Analytics, data capture and venue advertising are just some of the elements that can be added and monitored throughout the journey. 

With the vaccination effort forecast to be a long running affair, the importance of reliable WiFi and reliable around-the-clock technological support is uncompromisable. WiFi SPARK further prides itself in providing such assistance to its clients with a specialist support team on hand to solve problems as they arise. 

The call for a break-out service came in late December with confirmation of the contract not being assured until Christmas Eve. The team at WiFi SPARK worked through the Christmas period to develop and install this separate NHS Experience working alongside the existing guest-access solution, with it ready to go from the 31st of December, four days before the centre’s opening. 

“Choosing Westpoint as the vaccination centre for Royal Devon and Exeter allowed WiFi SPARK to put our specialist healthcare services into practice. We are proud to be helping the RD&E with bespoke connectivity for staff and the around-the-clock support that this initiative needs. It’s great to be working with RD&E, especially for such an important mission” says WiFi SPARK CEO, Matt O’Donovan. 

We are only at the beginning of the national vaccination effort and with the original plans to have the Westpoint vaccination centre up and running for at least a few months, there is an increasing possibility that this will be extended to provide consistent support for the foreseeable future. As the WiFi solution is scalable, WiFi SPARK is ready to provide reinforcement with an expansion if patient volumes increase.

WiFi SPARK is proudly providing the WiFi solutions for Westpoint’s vaccination roll-out and will continue to provide efficient support to ensure our NHS is digitally connected  during this critically challenging time.


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