Housing providers see smart technology playing a critical role in helping them to deliver better care and support for tenants.
16th March 2020 – Housing providers see smart technology playing a critical role in helping them to deliver better care and support for tenants according to A smart, safe and sustainable future, a white paper launched today by housing management experts, Northgate Public Services.
At a time when housing providers are increasingly supporting vulnerable residents, contributors to the white paper have suggested that the use of tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), predictive technology and smart devices could help create safer, sustainable housing and make a real difference to the level and speed of support they can offer.
Neil Pollitt, assistant director, business intelligence and insight at First Choice Homes Oldham, who is featured in the report, says: “With access to more information, we could spot that a customer is making erratic rental payments which might be an indication that they have recently lost their job, for example. We could then offer them support through our anti-poverty strategy with skills training and confidence building to help them get their CV up to speed and find work.”
The white paper underlined the potential for technology to support housing providers in building closer relationships with their tenants, an issue highlighted in the Hackitt Review, commissioned following the Grenfell Tower fire.
“Community engagement is a top priority; we need to be looking at the best platforms to reach people and engage with them. It calls for the right blend of technology and human intervention,” said John Paul, director of IT, Anchor Hanover Group.
Housing organisations are exploring how tools such as predictive analytics can be used to manage the growing demand for services that meet the needs of ageing populations. These tools can help providers to quickly identify elderly residents in difficulty and support early help programmes to enable people to live independently for as long as possible.
As Joe Logan, chief executive of Tai Calon Community Housing, explained, “Elderly people live a happier life in familiar surroundings, so if we can develop homes which can be fitted with pressure pads, movement sensors and alarms, people can stay in their homes for longer.”
Housing providers are increasingly recognising the value of using smart devices to monitor how residents are using household appliances and spot unusual patterns. “Sensors can already reveal how many times the fridge door has been opened today and draw attention to any unusual behaviour which might indicate all is not well. Appropriate action can then be taken to address any issues,” said Professor Paddy Gray, OBE, from Ulster University and the Wheatley Group.
Roger Birkinshaw, housing director at Northgate Public Services, said: “The report highlights the need for emerging technology to help relieve some of the pressures the housing sector faces. Housing providers see digital tools saving time and supporting the human interventions that can make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The contributors to the white paper include:
Find out more about our work in housing.