Not so long ago, the biggest challenge for asset managers was capturing data. Obtaining a clear up-to-date picture of the condition of an estate, particularly gaining access into homes, was a hugely difficult task and lifecycle planning, as I well know from my days managing multi-million pound PFI budgets, often relied on good judgement and guestimations.
However, over the past couple of years, advances in mobile technology have brought about a monumental shift in the way in which data is captured and used to better manage property portfolios.
Products such as Kykloud have allowed surveyors in the field to capture real-time data more quickly and efficiently which is then automatically fed in to sophisticated asset management platforms to allow data-driven decisions to be made about repair and maintenance budgets. This has been instrumental in better managing lifecycle and repair budgets which is undoubtedly why more and more housing associations and ALMOs are using such mobile technology and software.
However, the internet of things, once considered as merely a ‘Tomorrow’s World’ domain, looks set to explode within the housing sector. While its primary focus is to improve the life experience for tenants, a secondary by-product will be the value it can bring to asset managers; with the right software platform, asset managers could end up with the most valuable data at their fingertips.
We are in talks with an energy monitoring specialist who is introducing the IoT into housing providers to help tenants out of fuel poverty. Understanding how and when energy is being consumed is not only a vital part of helping tenants to better manage their energy supply but it also provides asset managers with valuable data. Rather than changing a boiler because it has reached its average shelf life, these data-driven insights into usage would allow asset managers to determine the real life-span of the boiler.
But big data could also provide such a detailed level of information that we could end up with information overload. Without a sophisticated asset management platform to aggregate the data and extract its full value, the data could render itself useless.
Ed Bartlett is CEO of Kykloud.