Going Digital

The smart home

Technology has been part of social housing provision for many years, with ‘warden call’ systems, access control and telecare such as fall detectors and bed occupancy sensors in use. However, the latest generation of smart and connected home technologies represent a step change in the way housing can be delivered. The Internet of Things will enable predictive repairs, with boilers that will report potential faults before residents are aware of a problem, and connectivity will mean providers can engage with residents in new, proactive ways.

We’re already seeing home heating and lighting being controlled via the internet, at home and away, and technology is commercially available that can enable fridges to detect sell by dates and empty cartons and automatically order groceries.

For older people, adding discreet remote sensors to this rich mix can create a truly intelligent home which can monitor health, safety and wellbeing and help housing providers to support independence and provide the right care at the right time.

With fixed land lines set to become a thing of the past as mobile networks deliver broadband more effectively, and BT announcing its intention to switch off standard telephone and ISDN lines by 2025, now is the time for housing providers to explore the contribution digital technologies can make to their strategies.