Juniper Uses AWS to Keep Aged Care Services Running in Times of Need


By rolling out AWS remote work and learning solutions, Juniper can support business continuity and connect residents with family and clinicians. Juniper manages aged care facilities across Western Australia. The organization uses Amazon Chime to facilitate communication between its communities, Amazon Connect for distributing recorded information, and Amazon WorkSpaces to enable employees to work from home.

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We can scale the AWS solutions we’re using in new ways and be more reactive during and after a disaster.”

Dan Beeston
ICT Manager, Juniper

Maintaining Contact During a Pandemic

In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofit aged care provider Juniper acted quickly to protect vulnerable residents, clients, and employees. Juniper operates aged care homes and retirement villages and provides home and community support services for the elderly across Western Australia. As a values-driven social enterprise, Juniper is highly focused on the physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of its residents and clients.

The pandemic created a pressing twofold challenge for Juniper. The organization needed to protect residents from the virus and comply with the Federal Health Department directives, yet allow people to maintain contact with medical practitioners, family, and friends. Concerned family members would likewise be seeking frequent updates on residents. Juniper also needed to connect employees from its head office as they entered a home-based work environment.

Scalable Video Conferencing Connects Teams

The organization had historically been very traditional in its technology and digital maturity. Subsequent to the appointment of a new CEO in 2018, Juniper began a digital transformation journey and chose to work with Amazon Web Services (AWS). When the pandemic created new, urgent workload demands, Juniper identified Amazon Chime as a cost-effective, user-friendly video-conferencing service to connect its communities. “Our strategy is to leverage AWS solutions first,” says Dan Beeston, ICT manager at Juniper. “Amazon Chime is something we could roll out swiftly and scale with a per-user, per-day charging structure, unlike other services that charge annual subscriptions.”

Dan and his team worked with the AWS Professional Services team to set up Amazon Chime for employees in two days and coordinated the first company-wide call for a CEO address. Previously, the team had been conducting these announcements using a telephony system for third parties that only allowed eight people to dial in at a time. Other employees logged in to a Skype for Business session simultaneously. Having two separate systems was difficult to manage and scale. “It’s likely that 20 percent of our workforce missed out from not being able to connect,” Dan shares. “Now there are no concerns, with that initial Amazon Chime teleconference the most successful session we ever had.”

Familiar Interface Eases Adjustment

Juniper’s IT team had three available engineers, supported by AWS Professional Services, integrate its corporate identity management system Okta with Amazon Chime. By doing this, employees could log in as usual to Okta and make Chime calls with the click of a button in the Okta console. “Putting Amazon Chime in a familiar place has alleviated a lot of the pressure of having to learn—or teach—a whole new identity management system,” Dan says. Employees can log in to their Okta accounts and be on a Chime call within 2 minutes.

Juniper’s teams have also commented on how simple the system is to use. “Our employees were concerned about working from home and how it’s going to affect them. Now they can join a meeting and talk to their colleagues and simply share documents and screens, which is going to make their lives a lot easier,” Dan adds. The nonprofit has also implemented Amazon Chime as a training tool, instead of having its trainers travel to office sites across the country. The team has pointed out the ability to send documents such as training agendas from within the Chime interface as one of the main benefits. “It’s simple things like this that are going to make people feel more comfortable in changing and challenging times,” Dan comments.

Continuing to Serve Its Extending Community

External connections providing full Amazon Chime Pro functionality were set up for general practitioners, occupational therapists, and clinicians. Juniper operates several care facilities in the remote Kimberley region of Australia, which has very low connectivity. The organization is supporting its residents by enabling Chime video calls from tablets placed around the facility to devices in residents’ rooms.

Preparing for Crisis with a Scalable Contact Center

Many of Juniper’s workforce are casual employees who need regular updates from their workplace. As such, the business needed a scalable way to distribute recorded information. A solution such as a toll-free number would be equally critical in preparation for an incident response when an outbreak occurs at a Juniper facility or when a total lockdown goes into effect. 

In a single business day, AWS Professional Services worked with Juniper to set up Amazon Connect as an automated contact center. “Amazon Connect is an immediate response to address the current need. Similar to Amazon Chime, it’s a platform that we can tap into and scale up rapidly if we face an influx of calls,” Dan explains. “We do not get locked into any licensing contracts, so once the situation subsides, we can scale back down without incurring ongoing cost.”

Investing in a Remote Work Culture

As part of its response to changing times, Juniper has introduced Amazon WorkSpaces to enable its people to work from home. “We did not have a strong remote-working culture; people don’t have laptops they can take home. The situation with COVID-19 drove us to be more agile to address our people’s needs,” Dan says. With Amazon WorkSpaces, employees can access their desktop from any supported device in just a few minutes. Juniper can also ensure that payroll services as well as accounts payable and receivable are processed on time, which is vital to maintain business continuity.

Overall, Juniper has been impressed with the scalability and ease of implementation of the AWS solutions deployed and the security measures in place to prevent panic-induced errors. “We did have a moment of hysteria where employees started copying files to portable hard drives and trying to access systems remotely in all kinds of creative and disruptive ways. With AWS, we’ve been able to stop this and provide employees with a space where they can safely log in and stay productive,” Dan says.

Post-pandemic, Juniper envisions facilitating more sessions where employees can set up video chats with residents’ relatives who are unable to visit their facilities. Employees have also suggested using teleconferencing between multiple care homes to promote extended social networks for residents, with meaningful activities that enable well-being and independence. “By using Amazon Chime, Connect, and WorkSpaces, when people come up with ideas, we can finally say ‘yes,’” Dan concludes. “We can scale the AWS solutions we’re using in new ways and be more reactive during and after a disaster.”

About Juniper

Since beginning operations as a charity and church agency in 1949, Juniper has grown to become one of Western Australia’s leading providers of respite, health, retirement housing, home care, and residential aged care services.

Benefits of AWS

• Helps comply with social distancing regulations for aged care
• Enables executive team to work and meet virtually across a vast state
• Automates distribution of information with a toll-free number
• Ensures vulnerable residents can connect with family
• Connects clinicians and residents to maintain care standards
• Enables the organization to set up and train employees on Amazon Chime in two days

AWS Services Used

Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect is an easy to use omnichannel cloud contact center that helps companies provide superior customer service at a lower cost. Over 10 years ago, Amazon’s retail business needed a contact center that would give our customers personal, dynamic, and natural experiences. We couldn’t find one that met our needs, so we built it. We've now made this available for all businesses, and today thousands of companies ranging from 10 to tens of thousands of agents use Amazon Connect to serve millions of customers daily.

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Amazon Chime

Amazon Chime is a communications service that lets you meet, chat, and place business calls inside and outside your organization, all using a single application. Developers can use the same communications infrastructure and services that power Amazon Chime, and add audio calling, video calling, and screen sharing capabilities directly to their applications using the Amazon Chime SDK.

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Amazon WorkSpaces

Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. You can use Amazon WorkSpaces to provision either Windows or Linux desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to workers across the globe. You can pay either monthly or hourly, just for the WorkSpaces you launch, which helps you save money when compared to traditional desktops and on-premises VDI solutions. Amazon WorkSpaces helps you eliminate the complexity in managing hardware inventory, OS versions and patches, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which helps simplify your desktop delivery strategy. With Amazon WorkSpaces, your users get a fast, responsive desktop of their choice that they can access anywhere, anytime, from any supported device.

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