IoT technologies are a great way to improve the overall connectivity of a property, making it easier for housing providers to gather and analyse typical household data. This data can then be used to identify risks or areas of inefficiency within a home, giving them the chance to implement effective repairs before the problem grows out of control, thereby reducing the likelihood of disrepair claims and reducing their long-term maintenance costs.
Yet despite the numerous benefits of IoT technology, many housing providers are hesitant to invest and are looking at other sectors to assess the effectiveness of IoT technologies. So, what do other sectors do?
Retail is one sector capitalising the benefits IoT technology. Companies such as Amazon have introduced these technologies into their warehouses, using connected robots to help package and move products with increasing efficiency and smart shelves to help ensure the stock levels are properly accounted for. The use of connected robotics has massively increased Amazon’s ability to fulfil orders, with the robots able to carry 750lbs of products and move around the warehouse at a surprising speed and with far less room for human error.
But retail isn’t the only industry making use of IoT technologies; farming has been quick to reap the various benefits by using IoT sensors to collect and analyse environmental and hardware metrics. The use of IoT technology leads to a more data-based way of operating, giving farmers the ability to better understand the conditions of the land they’re working.
This approach increases crop yields by reducing the margin for error, allowing farmers to maximise their profits while reducing waste. IoT technology can also monitor climate conditions and send alerts direct to farmers, providing them with a detailed forecast that can help in avoiding crop losses. The use of sensors can gather data on crop health, humidity, precipitation, temperature and many other parameters, giving farmers the chance to immediately identify any deviations and take appropriate actions.
IoT technology is changing how we live. This is particularly true of the automotive sector, which is where some of the biggest innovations are found. IoT technologies are being developed to help improve road safety, with devices on the market that can automatically detect collisions and contact emergency services.
The use of automotive IoT technology is largely used to reduce the risk of human error; technologies such as GPS can be used to track braking, idling and speeding habits – if a driver continues to exhibit poor decision-making, an alert can be sent to inform them of their errors.
IoT in housing
How can these technologies help the social housing sector? The main benefit of IoT technology is that it supports data-based decisions. This means housing providers can quickly identify high-risk properties in their portfolio and implement effective solutions before the problem can escalate.
Technologies such as smart thermostats, including those offered by Switchee, can monitor the internal conditions of a home such as temperature, humidity and motion, uploading it to a secure server that housing providers can access at any time. Through the use of IoT technology, devices such as Switchee’s can learn the specific heating pattern of a property and act accordingly by automatically optimising conditions in the home to match the resident’s needs. This can lead to savings of up to 17 per cent for the resident, reducing the likelihood of energy waste and providing relief for residents on the poverty line who may be struggling to properly heat their home.
Research shows that connected technology has the potential to transform the housing sector by changing the way residents consume energy and heat their homes, making energy usage more consumer friendly and reducing fuel-related costs.
If the social housing sector continues to follow the example set by companies in other sectors, it too could reap the many benefits of IoT technology.
Ian Hutton is a product lead at Switchee.