Bournemouth-based housing association BCHA is leading the way by installing connected ‘Internet of Things’ technology to improve the environment for its customers. The organisation is partnering with local technology business Daizy, to install sensors to monitor building systems and environmental conditions across its 1700 properties, with the aim of identifying issues that could adversely affect residents' quality of life.
BCHA supports thousands of people a year through its housing, specialist accommodation, training programmes and health and wellbeing advice and is on track to build 500 extra homes over the next five years.
CEO Martin Hancock, said: “Many housing associations are discussing the potential benefits of the Internet of Things to monitor their properties, but few have the technical capability to do this easily. “Working with Daizy we saw an immediate opportunity to improve the living environment for our customers, while reducing our costs in maintenance and repair. He continued: “We view data and technologies as having significant potential to help our customers in our Supported Housing services to receive a more person-centred service, as well as even greater safety and security in their homes. And as this is such a new field, we’re already getting interest from other housing associations to learn more about the work we’re doing.“
The term ‘Internet of Things’ refers to a system of interrelated devices that can continuously transfer data over a network without requiring human interaction. This provides new data and insights for BCHA to more effectively manage its buildings.
Jonathan Gulliver, Property Surveyor at BCHA, said: “Having access to better data means we can be much more effective with our building maintenance. For example, we’re installing heat and humidity sensors in areas likely to be at risk of damp and mould. By providing early warning of problems we can proactively support our residents to ensure a healthy environment and avoid the need for costly repairs later on.” He added: “We have a legal duty of care in areas such as emergency lighting and water safety. But by automating our testing and inspection we can also reduce the number of intrusive visits we have to make to peoples' homes and free up our team members' time for more valuable activities.”
David Ffoulkes-Jones, CEO of Daizy, said: “As a Bournemouth-based start-up we’re keen to support local organisations which deliver social benefit in our community. We were excited that Martin and the team at BCHA share our passion for testing new ideas and technologies. One of the challenges for a housing association installing large numbers of sensors, is keeping track of thousands of electronic devices and ensuring they continue to deliver useful information. Our platform allows BCHA to quickly and easily install devices and immediately gain insights from the data they provide. We’ve gained some key learnings working with BCHA which we are now taking to housing providers nationally to deliver similar benefits.”