Cloud computing has the potential to slash costs, improve efficiency and deliver a new range of valuable tenant services by 2015, according to a new report from CloudXL. The ‘Clouding over: Forecasts of big change for the housing sector’ report identified some of the advantages of cloud computing including:
- Employees can work and share information effectively from the office, home, in transit or on a site visit, with instant access to all the documents, software and schedules that they need.
- Tenants can do all their admin wherever they are from one account, including paying rent, logging and monitoring maintenance issues, reporting antisocial behaviour, completing surveys and communicating with neighbours.
- Data can be easily shared, combined and used to improve business processes. For example, maintenance logs can be linked to calendars and field workers’ GPS to allocate jobs to the right people as they are logged, with surveys automatically issued on completion.
- All data would be stored remotely so if one office goes down, users can carry on from another location with minimal disruption.
- Technology such as video communication and fall sensors can be networked into homes and managed through the cloud, helping reduce isolation and improve safety and comfort for older and vulnerable people.
- Housing organisations can fulfil commitments to help tenants into work by providing access to learning content and live training seminars through the cloud and allowing software to be rented or provided to boost skills.
Commenting on CloudXL’s report, Geoff Weedon, head of ICT, Swan Housing Association, said, “In the not too distant future, we expect to build networked retirement and care villages which can help older people live at home independently and safely. Sensors to monitor for danger, video-calls with relatives through the television and interactive entertainment designed for older people are all achievable, managed through a single, secure network.”
Rob Curtis, head of IS delivery, East Thames Housing Group, added, “Ultimately, the way to go for housing providers is to move away from a fixed infrastructure to using IT as a service, delivered through the cloud. This opens up many new opportunities for delivering better tenant services and increasing flexibility or working, making it easier and cheaper to do business.”
The report is available now from CloudXL’s web site at www.cloudxl.co.uk.