Unlocking New IoT Possibilities For Social Housing Providers
Reduced costs and improved customer service: for social housing providers, the benefits of investing in services linked to the Internet of Things (IOT) are as tangible as bricks and mortar. Given the multitude of responsibilities that providers such as councils and social housing trusts have to meet, this is a solid base on which to build for the future.
As well as ensuring that the properties they manage are damp-free, at a good tem-perature, with electrical, water and sanitation systems and clean air, providers can also face dealing with problems linked to over-occupancy, and spaces being used for unsafe or criminal purposes. Funding is limited, expectations are high and the safety of tenants is rightly paramount.
IntechnologySmartCities is a developer and supplier of Smart City and IoT services to local authorities and social housing providers. Our new service helps social housing organisations implement IoT sensor technology. By installing sensors in social housing linked by a wireless network, information on temperature, humidity and Co2 levels can be monitored and analysed remotely. Problems of damp are detected early, enabling remedial action before costs creep up. Co2 levels can be remotely monitored to ensure ten-ants’ safety. Temperatures can be monitored to ensure that homes aren’t too cold – or too hot – which can be critical for older and frail tenants, as well as enabling the early identification of fuel property within a property..
Ultimately, this is about applying smart technology to help responsible organisa-tions make informed decisions about how to keep their tenants safe and best man-age costs. The offering can be tailored to client’s needs and ranges from a standard service which identifies and alerts providers to changes in temperature and humidi-ty; through to systems which also measure Co2; to additional services where we work with providers to monitor and fix issues and problems including noise disturb-ance, vermin control and leak detection.
The devices are easily managed in one place: our platform. This platform is safe and secure. It provides a foundation for new services to be added in an affordable way as needs arise and technology evolves. Uniquely, social housing providers can also monitor the health and wellbeing of tenants through the platform. Our sister company Inhealthcare has been commis-sioned in more than 30 locations across the UK to deliver digital care ser-vices for the NHS. These remote monitoring technologies are tried, tested and available to social housing providers which want to engage with us. They empower people to monitor their own health and reduce the need for unnec-essary outpatient appointments.
There are signs that the social hosing sector is embracing the benefits that IoT offers. The Raven Housing Trust, a trust near London with 7,000 homes, believes that social housing providers need to be more open-minded and imaginative about the opportunities that technology can offer. While its budgets are limited, it is choosing to invest in IoT and expects to see payback in 18 to 24 months.
Myths about the use of smart technologies in homes are also easily debunked. These technologies have been getting smarter for years and use is widespread. But public understanding hasn’t kept track with the pace of change. This is about delivering better public services such as free WiFi and NHS care to people in their homes and improving their health and safety, not invading anyone’s privacy.
Social housing providers can face huge pressures to ensure the properties they manage meet the needs of their tenants. And when it goes wrong, it can be costly. A recent BBC investigation revealed that nearly 11,000 disrepair claims were made against local authorities in England between 2011/12 and 2017. Claims totalling £35.4m were paid out by councils during the period. Smart technologies help iden-tifying problems sooner, enabling interventions and less-costly fixes.
IoT sensor technology can also cut day-to-day costs for providers. Leeds Council spends some £32m on annual repair and maintenance of its 56,000 properties. Sensor technology, on the other hand, is estimated to save on average £540 per property, per year. Technologies can help providers to mitigate maintenance costs through early warnings, reduce the number of home callouts, and generally help to ensure properties are better looked after. Small savings achieved through services quickly add up to make a big difference, and investments pay for themselves.
IntechnologySmartCities is already trusted partner to local authorities in locations across the UK. And with good reason: we listen carefully to our partners’ objectives, ad-dress their concerns, and deliver what we promise.
We designed our new social housing service to provide a solid foundation for our partners to build upon. It’s made to last but also flexible enough to respond to changing needs and technologies in IoT, health and social care. The benefits – for both housing providers and tenants – are as real as the bricks and mortar of the properties themselves.
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