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How IoT is transforming resident lives and helping housing providers achieve their goals

Tom Robins, Switchee CEO, takes a look at how IoT can empower social housing providers while improving resident health, well being and satisfaction.
Family moving into their new home

With IoT now regularly in the news and in millions of private homes – Tom Robins, Switchee CEO, takes a look at how IoT can empower social housing providers while improving resident health, well being and satisfaction.

We live in a data driven society. We are surrounded by data capturing devices and platforms.  Smart watches monitor our sleep, online grocery stores predict when we need more milk – data is continually captured and analysed by sophisticated algorithms. It is nothing new and is socially accepted to be the norm.

More recently, across the social housing sector a slow, tentative shift towards IoT technology can be seen. Yet those early adopters are now seriously seeing the benefits. Operating costs are cut, proactive maintenance is planned and residents enjoy improved, future-proofed homes.

I want to share a true story with you. A true story which is an example of the reality which is seen by Switchee’s Customer Success Managers on a daily basis. It is the reason why the social housing sector must cease being cautious and adopt IoT technology at scale and speed.

Late in 2021, a housing provider’s asset team were analysing Switchee data, with the support of their dedicated Customer Success Manager. The data was alerting them to a property at high risk of damp and mould. Taking a proactive approach a surveyor visited the property. The property was in a state of disrepair; a collapsed ceiling in the resident’s bedroom due to a roof leak, fire damage in the kitchen and broken extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom. The resident needed to be housed in alternative accommodation with their young child. In conversation with the resident, the housing provider found the resident had not reported any of the issues. Why? Due to fear of eviction.

Shining a spotlight on otherwise hidden situations is the power which IoT gives Housing Providers. The reality is, we must now consider how this technology can be used at scale, to empower social landlords to hit challenging financial and customer satisfaction targets.

 

So, what are the main benefits of IoT technologies?

One of the main benefits of IoT technology is it allows for proactive data-based decision making. In housing, providers can quickly identify high-risk properties across their portfolio and implement effective solutions before problems escalate. By using just a Switchee, internal conditions of a home including temperature, humidity, and occupation are monitored. This data narrative is uploaded in real-time to a secure server that housing providers access at any time or feed directly into operating systems.

The seemingly impossible task of proactively monitoring thousands of properties all of a sudden becomes very possible. No longer are properties grouped in a reactive ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that is ineffective, timely and costly. By adopting IoT technology, housing providers have tools to better understand internal property conditions, ensuring their stock is proactively well-maintained.

There are multiple benefits for residents too. IoT technology devices, such as Switchee’s, learn the specific heating patterns of a property and act accordingly, automatically optimising conditions within the home to match residents needs. At a time of energy bills rising astronomically, a saving of up to 17% for residents can be the difference between heating or eating.

 

But how does this help housing providers achieve their goals?

By installing IoT technologies, repairs can be predicted, making the overall management of housing stock more efficient. This data driven approach helps ensure properties fall in line with government standards, such as the Fitness for Human Habitation bill, and reduces the risk of litigation.

There are over 10,000 Switchee’s installed in the UK. In the last 12 months, 89.6% of connected properties have been flagged to have “medium or high” risk of mould. With this knowledge, housing providers using Switchee have fingerprinted the root cause of the mould before it gets any worse.

Messages sent to a Switchee’s screen get a 90% response rate from residents. These messages reduce administration when arranging maintenance visits; letters, repeat phone calls or multiple property visits are reduced, saving providers time and effort. One such housing provider, in East Anglia, has shown that by using Switchee’s to schedule appointments, first time access rates have increased to 86% (from 44% when sending letters). The result, a potential £1.5m saving per year across the housing stock, increased employee happiness and improved resident satisfaction due to the hassle-free way of scheduling appointments.

IoT technologies such as Switchee’s, go one step further than just being an appointment scheduling platform. They can be used as an “in-home” communications device, allowing trusted two-way communication. North West England based Riverside, have over 450 Switchee’s installed, and can pin-point residents who are at high risk of fuel poverty. Using these insights they have proactively reached out to residents, via the Switchee, to offer HACT and prepayment voucher advice. A fantastic initiative, Riverside have now been shortlisted for the North West Energy Efficiency Awards 2022.

For housing providers, having access to the actionable insights they have always wanted allows the right decisions to be made, remotely. Information gathered by IoT devices has many upfront benefits such as lower energy bills for residents but also supports housing providers’ push towards long-term goals. Whether tackling Fuel Poverty or reaching 2030 Net Zero goals is at the top of the agenda, IoT technologies transform the way providers serve residents and manage their stock, improving resident engagement and making properties happier homes.

Get in touch with us today and explore how Switchee empowers residents to reduce their energy consumption and gives landlords the tools to provide exceptional homes.

www.switchee.co

0800 133 7957

info@switchee.co

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