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WiFi SPARK’s VIP Demonstration Day

7 minute read | 30/03/2023

WiFi SPARK’s VIP Demonstration Day

With hospital restrictions still in place due to the aftermath of COVID-19, our account managers in sales found it difficult to visit the Trusts they look after. To overcome this challenge, we organised a private demonstration day for Trusts to attend. Led by Francesca McPhail, Healthcare Sales Manager, Trusts under her management gathered in Southampton on Thursday, 16th March, where we discussed the existing Hospedia solution and showcased how our product upgrades could offer long-term value to the Trusts. The day was a great success and helped WiFi SPARK gain valuable insights about our customers. 

  1. Matt's Introduction Speech
  2. Interacting with Horizon and SPARK® Media
  3. Positive Conversations Had
  4. Conclusion

Matt’s Introduction Speech

Matt O’Donovan, CEO at WiFi SPARK opened the event with an introductory speech, which set the tone for the Private Demonstration Day. He took the Southern Trusts on a journey through the history of WiFi SPARK, from its founding to the present day. His insightful background story and explanation of our company's proposition helped our customers gain a better understanding of our purpose and values.Matt ODonovan speech 

Matt shared an inspiring story about how WiFi SPARK began providing WiFi for Hospitals. It all started when one of our marina customers recommended Matt to Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which desperately needed a WiFi solution. Matt and his small team at the time rolled out the WiFi solution across the entire hospital, and it proved to be a game-changer. Patients were finally able to connect with their loved ones and access vital resources, inaccessible from poor cellular connectivity. Word of mouth spread, and before long, WiFi SPARK became the go-to WiFi supplier for NHS Trusts.

During his speech, Matt shared his personal journey with WiFi SPARK, including his mistakes and lessons learned along the way. He emphasised the importance of listening to customer feedback and engaging in open discussions to move forward with new ideas. While acknowledging the limitations of the old Hospedia Bedside Units, Matt highlighted their unexplored and potential uses and encouraged Trusts to explore all available options.

‘Hidden’ Features of Hospedia Bedside Units that some Trusts were unaware were available to them include:
•    Surveys
•    Friends and family test
•    Signposting
•    Uploading hospital induction videos
•    Useful imagery (food menu, bed exercises, hospital map)

Back in 2000, Hospedia (then PatientLine) invested £150 million worth of infrastructure into hospitals at no cost to Trusts. This included the bedside units, power, arms and mounts that the current Bedside Units sit on. The original concession model saw patients having to pay for their entertainment and to watch TV whilst Hospedia supported the solution. Unfortunately in it’s evolution, the bedside unit solution under its current business strategy saw little growth and alignment with Trusts ensuring the full feature suite was deployed.

Given this concession model and business strategy is now irrelevant, and due to very long contracts and newer technology and software on the market, Trusts have been evaluating their situation and attempting to exit Hospedia contracts in favour of WiFi SPARK. Since the company acquired Hospedia in 2021, we are now taking steps to put in place a positive change to benefit the trusts and patients. 

To completely scrap and remove the Hospedia Bedside Units means that wards will need to be closed, because removing this infrastructure would be too disruptive with patients still in their beds. We know that in such a critical environment, this is not possible, however an upgrade to the units absolutely is.  Upgrading the existing screens to new SPARK® Horizon units means that there will be minimal disruption, thanks to the plug-and-play design of the units. Combining this with our BYOD solution means a patient will never be starved of information about their care or left bored and unstimulated. 

As well as the media solution, the WiFi portal can be a powerful resource for patients, with signpost messaging. An example Matt gives is in A&E. When people are waiting, they could log into the WiFi and see how long the wait time is at their current location and how long the waiting time is at several other A&Es or community hospitals in the area. This spreads out the number of patients between the different hospitals and means patients don’t have to wait as long.  It’s just one example of how our technology can make a massive difference in healthcare settings.
After our CEO’s captivating speech, the audience dispersed to the demo units.

SPARK's Managed Solution


Interacting with Horizon and SPARK® Media

After the speech, everyone buzzed around the two Horizon units and tablets displaying SPARK® Media. Trusts were asking questions such as: 

•    Can we have our own Trust apps on there? 
•    Is the unit completely free to use for the patient? 
•    Can patients communicate with family and friends through the units? 
The answer to all of those questions is, yes. 

Attendees eagerly interacted with the Horizon unit demo and pondered how it could enhance patient care. The focus was on healthcare apps that could be put on the new units and the benefits they could bring to both patients and staff. The atmosphere was light and convivial, fostering lively conversations across various Trusts. SPARK® team members were readily available to answer questions and engage in casual discussions.Francesca McPhail

Matt Hine from Southampton General Hospital stated that “Discharge starts at admission.” During Matt O'Donovan's discussion segment of his speech.

This got Trusts talking about what they could do as soon as the patient is admitted to help with the discharge. They could introduce bed exercises, medication information, an early introduction to virtual wards and more.  These are functionalities that are all possible through Horizon. The possibilities are endless with Horizon’s tailored functionalities for specific wards and patient needs.

Bedside units are great for the elderly and for those who have been admitted and are in bed. But what about the waiting period? That’s where our BYOD solution comes into play with SPARK® Media. Patients can access Trust information, charity pages, BBC resources such as the reminiscence archive, live TV, catch-up, online newspapers and magazines all in one place. This is just a sample of  SPARK® Media’s capabilities. 

Trusts saw the value in this for waiting rooms and A&E. We talked about the benefits, and they muse about how it could help and how it can be implemented. While the final decision rests with the Trust, we take pride in offering solutions that can alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS.


Positive Conversations Had

Matt's captivating speech highlighted the importance of utilising the existing Hospedia Units and showcased the benefits of upgrading to Horizon. Attendees were captivated by the possibilities of increasing efficiencies and the versatility of SPARK® Media and signposting.


Trusts can advertise their campaigns. The representative from Southampton General Hospital, Matt Hine, talked about a campaign their hospital is running. 

“We at UHS recently begun a campaign called” ask 3 questions” as soon as the patient is admitted, we engage with dialogue and information to assist and prepare them for when they leave."

With our solution, this campaign can be signposted on the bedside units as well as WiFI log-in portals.
Education of Bedside Units

The Deputy Head of Patient Experience in University Hospitals Dorset informed us of the reality surrounding the education of the Hospedia Bedside Units to patients. 

"People don’t know how to use them and they ask the staff ‘Do you mind helping me how to use this?’  they have to say, ‘I’m really sorry I don’t have time’. They push the unit to the side and that’s the end of that. Staff just don’t have the time or the knowledge. Starting from the ground up and getting everyone involved in how important this is and how much of a beneficial tool this could be is really important.”

One of our new sales reps, Dawn Castles made a suggestion to counter this problem. 
"Do you think we could use volunteers?"

This sparked a conversation around the use of volunteers. We could create training materials and have half a day teaching the volunteers how to use the units and ask any questions. They could walk around with a help guide sheet that they can give to patients. The possibilities that can stem from one conversation can be never-ending. 


If you're curious about the positive outcomes of our VIP Demonstration Day and want to experience it for yourself, don't hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager or fill in the form below. Whether your Trust has Hospedia Bedside Units or SPARK® Media and Connect, we can offer valuable insights and tailor-made solutions to enhance patient care, save valuable time and provide additional resources for staff. 

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