Welcome to #HTtop5. A quick yet strangely satisfying portion of technology news, served hot with a sweet creativity dip and a side order of housing sector potential. A bit like the chicken strips in McDonald’s… but with more housing.
You may have heard of smartlocks already. They don’t use regular physical keys but rather work via Bluetooth. Very handy if you’re always losing keys or just like Bluetooth things. Housing providers might have been put off the idea of changing large amounts of doors over to smartlocks in the past because of the perceived expense and hassle of doing so, but now a company called Kwikset has a conversion kit available for pre-order.
For the very reasonable price of $149, you can keep your existing door and just convert the lock to a smartlock. That might still sound expensive compared with traditional locks but think about how much it’s costing larger landlords to change hundreds of keys every year; smartlocks could actually be a great way to save money in the long run.
Also when your husband doesn’t come home from a night out with the boys, you could change the code and he won’t be able to get back in. Perfect. Sorry husbands everywhere, cancel Friday and tell the boys that the ‘fishing trip’ will have to be rescheduled.
What on earth is a shop doing in the #HTtop5, I hear you ask? Well, just hang on a second and you’ll find out.
The mighty (and increasingly innovative) Amazon has just announced a store that doesn’t bother with checkouts or even self-service machines. The concept works like this: the customer scans an app as they enter the store, clever sensors then track what items you put in your basket, and then when you leave the store, your account is charged accordingly.
Although this is an Amazon concept, consider how this could be used in the housing sector. Imagine if tenants were charged rent on a daily basis, every time they entered their home. It would help with fraud prevention and enable housing providers to measure how their properties are being used. Okay, there may be some people who object to that idea but it’s an interesting and different way to charge tenants.
Or how about using it in communal, open-to-all rental garages, where a customer or tenant only pays when they park in the garage. There are some obvious issues to overcome for this to be of use in the housing sector, but there are potentially some really interesting efficiencies to explore.
Youtube 4k streaming
Have you ever streamed a live event on YouTube? Of course you have. I bet you didn’t do it in ultra, ultra, ultra, ultra-high definition though, did you? That’s four ultra’s. Hold on to your HD socks because you can now stream live on YouTube in 4K. Exciting times, I know. Even better, you can broadcast in 360-degree as well as standard video.
Okay, so the viewer will need a 4K-enabled device at the other end and you will need a 4K- capable camera, but just imagine your tenants watching company announcements and live events in glorious ultra, ultra, ultra, ultra-high definition. That’s better than your eyes. How can your eyes see something that is better than what they can see? Just enjoy the picture’s crispness and don’t think about how it works.
M1 Electric skateboard
When I was a small boy (well, a slightly-overweight boy), I often dreamed of a skateboard with an engine. I also dreamed of a house made from sweets.
The Inboard M1 brings one of my dreams very close. It’s a skateboard that you can use just like a normal skateboard but it also has motors in the back wheels, batteries and wires and other cool engineering hidden away so you won’t even notice it, and it can travel at up to 20mph.
Imagine housing officers across the land whizzing around on skateboards instead of those noisy, polluting cars they currently use. Or imagine a rack-style rental scheme for tenants.
Marriot hotel virtual tours
Have you ever stayed in a Marriott Hotel? No, me neither. However, this might tempt you to in the future; Marriott Hotels have announced a partnership with London-based tech start-up Oculus Rift to give website visitors a virtual tour of their facilities.
Although the hotel chain hasn’t yet clarified exactly how this will work, it will have something to do with a live one-way video stream, two-way audio and augmented reality to allow potential guests to look around its hotels.
It’s easy to imagine how this concept could be used in housing; for customer viewings, void inspections or tenancy visits. Who needs to actually go somewhere in real life anymore?
If you do decide to leave your chair, use an electric skateboard. Then stream the journey live on YouTube in 4K. Then use your phone to unlock a communal skateboard garage that charges your account as you enter. One day, we will all have homes made from sweets. Until that day, keep pushing those tech boundaries and make the housing sector a leader in innovation.
Adam Rigg is a new media and channel specialist at Red Kite Community Housing.