IoT pilot aims to improve social housing, combat fuel poverty
The mainstream connected home remains a distant dream, says Gartner

IoT pilot aims to improve social housing, combat fuel poverty

Flagship Group is trialing an Internet of Things (IoT) pilot scheme to change the way housing providers operate in future.

The venture, which is being done in tandem with a number of local companies, sees free Wi-Fi and new smart home technologies being installed in a block of Flagship-owned flats in Ipswich, United Kingdom.

In a statement, the company said its aim is to improve communication with customers, while reducing costs for both them and Flagship.

Related: Dixons Carphone partners with SSE to take smart home mainstream

Boosting experience and efficiency with IoT

More specifically, the Customer Services and Asset Management Teams want to understand how smart technology and IoT can help improve the management of Flagship’s homes, everyday life for customers, and staff access to a reliable and secure internet connection while working remotely.

To do so, 12 Flagship-owned flats have been fitted out with Wi-Fi access to encourage digital usage, smart-locks on communal and hallway doors that can be accessed via mobile phones, Switchee smart thermostats to understand and regulate customers’ heating settings – the aim being to reduce energy bill and combat fuel poverty – and CCTV cameras in communal areas to improve overall security.

Flagship’s partners include Norwich-based WiSpire, which is providing the Wi-Fi, Switchee, which is providing the smart thermostat, and Dereham-based, DoorsPlus, which is providing the smart lock and CCTV technology for the flats.

Related: Microsoft wants to take on Amazon and Google with smart home software

A new flagship for smart housing?

Marie-Claire Delbrouque, director of housing and customer insight at Flagship said: “This is a unique step forward in creating an improved service for our customers. The use of iPads and smartphones allows them to communicate more efficiently as they can pay their rent and log a repair online immediately, which also reduces the number of calls made to our contact center.

“The tenants we are using for the trial have been very receptive and are looking forward to seeing how the new technology will make their lives easier. We hope the next few months will be a success with the prospect of rolling it out across the company in the near future.”

Related: Camden CIO says the Internet of Things can help councils tackle social care issues