The future of the smart social home


In a White Paper published today, HACT calls for social housing organisations to invest in smart technology as a critical step towards achieving a data-driven future.

“The smart social home will save social housing organisations money, and improve their carbon footprint,” says Rob Wray, Chief Innovation Officer, HACT. “Implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) technology should be a part of business transformation, rather than existing in its own silo. Finally, the smart social home can enable social housing residents and the communities they live in, improving resident engagement and breaking down the current stigmatisation of residents.”

The White Paper, called Do The Smart Thing, examines some of the pilots that social housing organisations have run over the past five years to test the value of smart technology. It reviews some of the wider barriers to implementation, as well as highlights some of the benefits of smart technology for both residents and social housing organisations.

“Successful implementation of smart technology will require a shift in culture, away from what can this technology do for us to how can this technology can work best for residents,” Rob Wray added. “With the sector committed to a data-driven future, one in which residents are engaged and empowered, investment in smart homes should be seen as a critical step towards achieving this. Put simply, it is the smart thing to do.” “Imagine if social housing had been able to embrace smart technology over the last two months,” added Jay Saggar, Digital Lead at HACT.

“Imagine if asset management teams could have been using smart sensors to remotely build a picture of asset condition so that when works can resume repairs can be accurately prioritised. Imagine if they could also have been monitoring fire safety by using smart smoke sensors. And imagine if you were able to limit the number of in-person visits to residents of independent living schemes, so they could stay safe, connected to the world but isolated from the virus.”

“The smart social home should be about giving back control through data, so residents can have a better understanding of their home,” Jay added. “If residents were empowered to be more in control of their homes, this could shift the power dynamic, between landlord and tenant, in the long run enabling residents to do more, smaller or minor repairs themselves and have more informed conversations about issues within their homes. This could result in greater independence, as well as improved wellbeing. And, critically, smart tech can play a critical role in keeping residents safe, whilst ensuring your compliance with regulations.”

The report includes examples of smart home technology that would be of benefit to social housing organisations and their residents:

  • Smart locks will let a resident who is at work open their front door so that a repairs person can fix a faulty boiler, reducing costs associated with missed appointments.
  • Smart temperature sensors will enable social housing organisations to measure and resolve damp and mould issues before they become a costly problem to fix.
  • Smart leak sensors can detect water escape and activate smart stop-cocks before major damage is caused, saving costs of repairs, protecting residents’ home contents and the inconvenience of remedial work.