A ‘smart’ solution for Housing Associations

From appliances to energy management, the role of ‘smart home’ technology continues to expand. Previously only seen in private homes, smart technology is making inroads into affordable housing too. This comes as no surprise to those in the industry, since Housing Associations are already taking advantage of technology for effective asset management or improving tenant comfort and wellbeing.

Plus, with the sector increasingly encouraged to embrace more digital ways of working, many organisations have moved their services online, making the integration of smart technology even more important. In parallel, the necessary shift to remote working during 2020 has led to a number of digital infrastructures and data standards being incorporated into everyday operations and working practices.

smart technology

Automation in the home
Whether its smart meters that monitor energy usage, speakers like Alexa, or apps that allow you to control property access remotely, sophisticated technology is gradually finding its way into our homes. Technological advancements and increased accessibility or mainstreaming of this technology mean many of our standard electrical devices are emerging as ‘smart’, including televisions and other household goods.

What makes these devices so clever is that they can all be connected to each other via the Internet of Things (‘IoT’), an umbrella term used for all technologies that enable the connection of a device to the internet – or, in some cases, mobile networks. This technology replaces the need to manually interact with a device, such as a light switch or an intercom handset, with a simple tap on a smartphone – or, in some cases, without any human prompt at all.

Powering social housing
Implementing smart technology across the affordable housing sector has the potential to empower residents, while also helping housing professionals manage their assets in a data-driven and more efficient way. Take smart thermostats, for example, which allow tenants to change the temperature or switch the heating off from their smartphone when away from home. These devices simultaneously reduce utility costs and help prevent costly issues such as damp or mould. Plus, a recent smart thermostat pilot rolled out to 493 Housing Association properties was found to potentially save 1.82 tonnes of CO2 per year - with a move towards net carbon zero proving critical over the coming years, this is an exciting development for Housing Associations.

digitalSmarter access control
Smart technology doesn’t have to be just centred around utilities, however: it also extends to building access control. Connected via the Global System for Mobile Communications (the technology that powers mobile phones), Intratone’s new DD-02 intercom allows tenants to grant visitors access via an app on their smartphone or tablet – although it can also be used with traditional landlines and mobile phones. Its pinhole video camera enhances security, while accessibility features such as a braille backlit keypad and audio induction loop make it user-friendly for all.

As it’s connected to Intratone’s secure remote online management system, the DD-02 wireless intercom empowers housing managers to oversee and control property access remotely, in real-time, with no need for site visits. In just a few clicks, they can grant edit tenant details and grant access to service providers without being at the site, and allow timed or temporary access via the built-in coded keypad function.

The future of housing is now
For Housing Associations and their tenants, the implementation of smart technology – including wireless access control – is a win-win. Not only can it provide residents with benefits such as reduced bills, speedy delivery of maintenance, or greater peace of mind and security, but it also allows housing professionals to manage their buildings in a more efficient, sustainable and cost-effective way.

Find out more about the wireless DD-02 intercom here