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How IoT in other industries could revolutionise social housing?

With IoT flourishing in a host of other industries across the country - what can social housing learn from their deployments for their own businesses?

Lauren Grimes
Lauren Grimes

Aug 27, 2021

IoT technologies are a great way to improve the overall connectivity of a property, making it easier for housing providers to gather and analyse typical household data. This data can then be used to identify risks or areas of inefficiency within a home, giving providers the chance to implement effective repairs before the issue grows out of control thereby reducing the likelihood of disrepair claims being levelled against providers. Despite the numerous benefits of IoT technology, many housing providers are hesitant to invest and are looking to other industries to assess the effectiveness of IoT tech.

So, how do other industries make use of IoT technology?

Retail is one industry capitalising off of the benefits IoT technology presents. Companies like Amazon have introduced these technologies into their warehouses, using connected robots to help package and move products with increasing efficiency and smart shelves to help ensure the stock levels are properly accounted for. These advancements have helped maximise profit for Amazon, with the company achieving a net income of $5.2 billion throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, a time where many other businesses have struggled financially. The use of connected robotics has massively increased Amazon’s ability to fulfil orders with the bots able to carry 750 pounds of products and move around the warehouse at a surprising speed and with far less room for human error.

But retail isn’t the only industry making use of IoT technologies, farming have been quick to reap the various benefits by using IoT sensors to collect and analyse environmental and hardware metrics. The use of IoT technology leads to a more data based way of operating, giving farmers the ability to better understand the conditions of the land they’re working. This approach increases crop yield by reducing the margin for error, allowing farm workers to maximise their profit while also reducing waste. The Internet of Things (IoT) technology can also monitor climate conditions and send alerts direct to farmers, providing them with a detailed forecast that can assist in avoiding crop losses. The use of sensors can gather data on crop health, humidity, precipitation, temperature, and many other parameters giving farmers the chance to immediately identify any deviations and take appropriate action. Though initially slow on the uptake, the farming industry has quickly embraced the benefits of IoT with the market expected to reach $5.2b in 2021.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing how we live. This is particularly true of the automobile industry, which is where some of the biggest innovations are being developed and implemented. IoT technologies are being developed to help improve road safety, with devices on the market that are able to automatically detect collisions and contact emergency services. The use of IoT technology within the automotive industry is largely used to reduce the risk of human error. Technologies like GPS trackers can be used to track braking, idling, and speeding habits – if a driver continues to exhibit poor decision making, an alert can be sent to inform them of their errors. Among other things, IoT can be used to reduce the rate of emissions, helping create a more environmentally friendly transport system with cities like Singapore already a shining example of this according to IT Pro Portal.

But how can these technologies improve the social housing sector?

The main benefit of IoT technology is that it allows for data-based decision making. In social housing, this means housing providers can quickly identify high-risk properties in their portfolio and implement effective solutions before the problem can escalate. Technologies like Smart Thermostats, offered here at Switchee, can monitor the internal conditions of a home such as temperature, humidity, and motion, uploading it to a secure server that providers can access at any time. Through the use of IoT technology, devices such as Switchee’s Smart Thermostat can learn the specific heating pattern of a property and act accordingly by automatically optimising conditions within the home to match the residents needs. This can lead to savings of up to 17% for the resident, reducing the likelihood of energy waste and providing relief for residents on the poverty line who may be struggling to properly heat their home. Research shows that connected technology has the potential to transform the housing sector by changing the way residents consume energy and heat their homes, making energy usage more consumer friendly and reducing fuel related costs. If the social housing sector continues to follow the example set by other industries, they too could reap the many benefits of IoT technology.

Lauren Grimes

Lauren Thornton-Grimes is Switchee’s PR and Marketing Executive. She has a keen interest in Social housing and is focused on educating the housing industry on solutions to some of it's biggest problems. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Winchester.

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