Embracing a digital future
The unique challenges presented in the last year in particular have highlighted an increased need for effective online operations for Housing Associations – an advancement and evolution of the already growing digital shift within the housing sector. A key driver towards expanding and embedding digital in Housing Associations is the need to adjust ways of working in order to save money, time and overall resources. Plus, both parties benefit when Housing Associations are better connected to their tenants – from sharing information, to understanding and supporting a diverse range of needs.
What impact can digital systems have on Housing Associations?
Whether it is addressing building accessibility, administration tasks such as rent payments, maintenance or other key transactions and tenant interactions, a smart online operating or communications system not only reduces paperwork and the stress on teams, but can also reduce costs when compared to phone or in-person approaches.
While there’s sometimes no substitute for a conversation or an in-person home visit, by utilising digital technologies such as remotely managed access control systems, Housing Associations can improve operating efficiencies. This frees up both time and money that can then be focused on those residents in need of urgent support, or invested in other projects that can positively impact tenants or the community.
Access, made easy
Driven by wireless, GSM-based technology – namely the technology behind mobile phones – remotely managed building access systems mean Housing Associations are now able to easily manage property access from either their office or home, without needing to visit their sites in person every time.
Take our new intercom, the DD-02. The latest of Intratone’s GSM-based wireless access control systems, the DD-02 harnesses this technology to deliver secure, remotely managed building access control for Housing Associations. With no wires or handsets installed in individual flats, tenants let visitors in via their own mobile phone or tablet. Its pinhole video camera enhances security and gives residents even greater control over granting access. Catering to all tenants’ needs, the DD-02 intercom includes key accessibility features such as a backlit braille keypad, direct dialling and an audio induction loop.
Real-time resident support
The digitalisation of the Housing Association sector isn’t just about access though, it is also about putting technology in place to inform residents of the services available to them. Whether it be web or portal communications, Housing Associations can now offer 24/7 self-service support for their residents, allowing them to keep up to date with their account, any recent news or contact a relevant person should they need extra assistance. Digital communications systems such as digital noticeboards add real value here too – enabling important information, for example lift breakdowns, maintenance schedules or public health information, to be quickly and easily displayed to tenants in communal areas. Again, remote management is an integral part of the benefits of this technology, allowing housing managers to post information on the noticeboards remotely from their computer.
Other digital tools on the market aim to assist the housing management process by harnessing artificial intelligence. For example, tenants can chat with multilingual AI assistants by text or voice, with some AI tools even qualifying leads, taking and chasing rental payments, and triaging maintenance queries. Meanwhile, picture-based repair reporting portals are empowering tenants to self-manage the repair reporting process in communal and personal spaces. This type of tool isn’t just beneficial for tenants, early detection and detailed reporting of maintenance issues contribute to lower cost and faster fixes for Housing Association teams too.
The future is now
Digitalisation in the Housing Association sector is about adapting and evolving to introduce technology-driven services that work for both staff and tenants. Beyond the immediate need presented over the past year, technology can increase future efficiencies too, streamlining processes and enabling Housing Associations to continue to offer a consistent, high-quality and cost-efficient service in the long term.
Find out more about the wireless DD-02 intercom here