You might think that smart home technology is the preserve of private homeowners or perhaps millionaires wanting to showcase their homes. Well think again, some trailblazing housing associations are beginning to explore how it can help them cut maintenance bills.
There is no doubt that the cost of smart devices is getting lower all the time. By now most of us will have used voice-controlled devices from Google or Amazon and we are used to asking Alexa, the Google Assistant, Cortana or Siri for information or help.
Smart technology is becoming mainstream and is increasingly replacing everyday devices to make them more helpful and intelligent.
While there are obvious benefits for the tenant, and of course tenant well-being is high on the list of any social landlord, it can also provide a real return on investment for your organisation.
Essentially such devices can help you monitor services in a property and alert you to any issues before they become serious and need an expensive emergency call out. A lot of the time such intelligent devices are simply replacing existing less smart devices.
A good example is the smart thermostat. Not only are they more intuitive for the user and using machine learning help them heat their homes more effectively and cheaply, but by monitoring inefficiencies in the heating system, and in particular the boiler, they can help you plan maintenance.
If there is a problem with the boiler then both the tenant and landlord can receive a notification so that it can be rectified. The landlord can potentially also tell when the tenant is likely to be in by understanding when the heating is on to reduce failed first-time calls and save money. You can even use the thermostat as a means of communicating with the tenant by leaving a notification on it.
Automated pre-winter boiler check
Going one step further, there are smart thermostats that can arrange a remote pre-winter check of the boiler to highlight any issues well in advance. This means any maintenance becomes part of a planned programme rather than an emergency call out when the first bit of cold weather strikes.
Yet this is just the tip of the maintenance iceberg when it some to using such technology. There are also humidity detectors to prevent mould, water leak detectors to highlight problems before a costly refurbishment becomes necessary and door sensors to check that fire doors are closing properly in blocks of flats.
There are issues that need ironing out such as data privacy laws and internet access, but these are not insurmountable. For an in depth look at how we think that smart home technology can help you reduce your maintenance costs and also how to overcome some of the barriers to its adoption take a look at our whitepaper.