Orchard has just released its new Self Service Mobile (SSM) app to give tenants on-demand access to a range of information and services via their smartphones. Compatible with iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices, Orchard said that SSM is the only solution which provides genuine two-way communication and live information for residents. The app is fully integrated with the Orchard Self Service Portal and Orchard Housing.
SSM has a ‘native app’ look and feel, supporting common touch-screen controls and screen gestures. It can also be branded to the provider’s corporate look and feel, including colours, fonts and graphics. The location services provided by smartphones’ use of maps and GPS enables useful features such as being able to see the location of community events on a map or reporting the precise location of an estate issue. SSM integrates with a smartphone’s camera to allow photographs to be taken and sent with reports for areas such as repairs or ASB incidents.
SSM is easy and inexpensive to deploy, easy to use and attractive to residents. Services and information are available to tenants at all times, with service requests and updates sent directly to Orchard Housing users, rather than via email, so there is no duplication of data, no re-keying and no out-of-date information.
Aidan Dunphy, product manager, Orchard, said, “A recent Ofcom report confirms our belief that the use of smartphones in the UK is growing exponentially and that they are by far the preferred communication method among younger people. Combined with cheaper internet provision and ever-improving coverage, mobile internet access is fast becoming a must-have service channel, and this is reflected in the explosion of new tenant-access apps aimed at housing providers.”
Impact of Regulatory Framework standards
Orchard carried out a live SMS/text survey at last month’s CIH conference in Manchester to find out what the delegates thought would be the impact of the Regulatory Framework standards on housing providers.
The tenant involvement and empowerment standard was considered to be likely to have the greatest impact (29%) by visitors to Orchard’s exhibition stand, followed by the rent and value for money standards (both 17%).
The areas thought to have the least impact were the home standard (6%) and the tenancy standard (4%).