Civic Innovation leading the way in community impact

By Kavita Tailor - on 08/11/2017

 

HACTs Innovation Launchpad is our showcase featuring a range of fresh ideas and innovations from beta projects to fully functional market ready products that are, and have the potential to, shape the future of housing and communities. We are advocates of technology and innovation cultivating communities and creating impact. Here are a selection of innovative civic initiatives HACT back which are creating community impact across the sector:

Spacehive

Spacehive connect great project ideas to the people, councils, companies and grant makers ready and willing to fund them. Spacehive's crowdfunding platform provides a single portal where people with project ideas for their communities can build support, ensure their plans are viable, pitch for funding from the crowd and Spacehive's partners and share the impact they have created. 

Spacehive currently work with 50 partners, from housing associations to local authorities, property developers to foundations, helping them engage with local communities to foster a sense of ownership, harness local insight and leverage funding to go further, creating an ecosystem where government, businesses and citizens can collaborate to create real community impact.

So far, since Spacehive launched in 2012 they have raised £8.1m and delivered 376 projects. A report released by Future Cities Catapult claims that in the future, crowdfunding has the potential to become the de-factor method to assign resources and budget to local projects.

 

Ally Chatbot

Ally Chatbot is a tool that helps housing associations, councils and charities provide scalable 24-hour instant support to residents. 

Chatbots are software that use artificial intelligence to replicate a real-life conversation. Using advanced technology allows Ally to deliver personalised and reliable information, whilst freeing up internal resources. 

Ally are one of the first companies building chatbots specifically for the housing sector, supporting tenants with tasks like budgeting and employment support, assisting in benefit advice (particularly universal credit), informing them of services in the local area, or providing advice to prevent eviction. 

Currently, they are working with two large housing associations, Southern Housing and Origin Housing, as well as the The Children's Society. They have received investment and support from Bethnal Green Ventures, Investec, Accenture and Hogan Lovells.

 

Switchee

Switchee is the first smart thermostat built specifically for the social housing sector. Designed with large landlords in mind, Switchee delivers energy savings for residents while providing remote data insights that cut maintenance costs.

Switchee uses temperature, light, motion, humidity and air pressure sensors to understand occupancy and optimise heating settings, saving residents up to 15% on their energy bills.

This data is then used to produce a landlord dashboard displaying a range of welfare and maintenance KPI’s and alerts. The data and alerts can help landlords identify potential fuel poverty cases and prompt early intervention. It also enables a better targeting of resources to prevent future issues involving condensation and mould, cutting maintenance costs for landlords and improving resident well-being.

If you're a housing provider keen to pilot or test a new idea, or a new technology looking to engage with the housing sector, get in touch with Jay Saggar.

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