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Datacentrix provides rugged, compact mobile WiFi solution to SANBS for another three years


Johannesburg, 06 Oct 2021
Read time 3min 20sec
Savan Marimuthu, Senior Account Manager at Datacentrix (left) and Amit Singh, Senior Manager: Service Delivery at SANBS (right) display the bespoke, rugged WiFi units used at SANBS' mobile clinic sites.
Savan Marimuthu, Senior Account Manager at Datacentrix (left) and Amit Singh, Senior Manager: Service Delivery at SANBS (right) display the bespoke, rugged WiFi units used at SANBS' mobile clinic sites.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS), a not-for-profit organisation providing an essential service within South Africa, has renewed an agreement with hybrid IT systems integrator and managed services provider, Datacentrix, to provide a bespoke WiFi solution for its mobile clinics.

The 2018 initial requirement of SANBS, which operates across South Africa with the exclusion of the Western Cape, was to provide donors visiting its mobile clinics with the same experience as those calling in at its fixed sites. And this, according to Amit Singh, Senior Manager: Service Delivery at SANBS, includes the availability of free WiFi.

“We had very specific prerequisites for these mobile WiFi units, which seemed like quite a tall order,” explains Singh. “They needed to be rugged units that could be moved around from clinic to clinic and would not easily be damaged when in transit. We wanted them to be theft- and tamper-proof, provide 10 hours of battery life and, beyond this, they also needed to be portable enough for our employees to easily carry, transport and set up the units.

“Datacentrix won the initial tender by meeting all of SANBS’ requirements, with the organisation going the extra mile of building a bespoke solution to achieve this.”

The business outcome was a robust mobile WiFi solution, comments Savan Marimuthu, Senior Account Manager at Datacentrix. “The units were specially customised for SANBS, ticking all of the boxes. Built using military-grade material, they are waterproof, extremely compact, weighing in at just 4.5 kilograms, and have a long-life battery.”

In addition, they come fitted with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) protocol for wireless and cellular network communication services, adds Frederik van Staden, Senior Consultant: WAN and ISP Services at Datacentrix company, eNetworks, an ISP and network specialist. “The units are easy to use, with GPS location tracking in real-time, and provide excellent coverage, even in outlying areas. As a vendor-agnostic partner, eNetworks was able to look at where SANBS’ mobile clinics were situated and plan for the best LTE coverage. As part of the service, SANBS has access to an online portal, which provides insights on traffic as well as how and where data is being consumed.”

“By opting for Datacentrix’s mobile-as-a-service option, SANBS has been provided with an innovative solution with no requirement for capital outlay, a 24-hour service level agreement (SLA), as well as annual refurbishment of the equipment,” Van Staden adds.

After a successful pilot phase, with positive feedback received from donors, SANBS rolled out 20 primary WiFi units, followed by a further 10 devices. This agreement recently came to maturity, and, having followed its due request for proposal (RFP) business process in order to gauge the current marketplace, SANBS opted to award the new three-year tender to Datacentrix. SANBS plans to add additional units to cover more of its mobile donor clinics.

“SANBS issued an RFP once the initial three-year contract had expired, and we decided to award the new contract to Datacentrix,” says Singh. “Response on the units from our donors has been phenomenal, and not only are they able to use the free service to access the internet during the blood donation process, but mobile clinic staff can access SANBS’ central database when needed to access donor information.

“We have built an excellent working relationship with Datacentrix over this time, and the entire team, from back-office staff to executives, has been brilliant. Each member goes out of their way to get things done. In particular, Datacentrix bent over backwards to ensure that we received equipment needed over the lockdown period."

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