From: Cherry Rance, Marketing director, 1st Touch
Sir – It is always encouraging to see the level of coverage that mobile systems account for in Housing Technology. It certainly helps readers to keep abreast of a rapidly changing technology landscape.
As a supplier of mobile technology to the housing sector, 1st Touch is also keen to take account of those trends that help our customers most. Recently, for example, there has been the rapid spread of mobile away from being solely a solution for managing responsive repairs. Now the technology is also used to support areas such as utilities, inspections and surveying, and care and support. We have also factored into our development the growing range of platforms being used for these applications.
However, the most significant change is yet to come. The imminent introduction of universal credit will now be a significant driver of the sales and supply of mobile technology. As housing benefits will now be paid to recipients as part of their universal credit and not direct to housing organisations, there’s an urgent need to communicate with tenants to ensure that new payment arrangements are in place. In many cases, housing officers will need to make contact with their tenants to guide them through the new process. This is best done in person, while visiting the tenant’s home and by confirming these arrangements through the housing officer’s PDA.
Housing officers should have up-to-date information about the tenancy on their PDA when they visit. They will then be able to set up payment details and where appropriate, take the first payment or even settle outstanding arrears while there.
Thus, while the demands placed on social housing by the introduction of universal credit are potentially considerable, we feel that mobile technology will play a significant role in securing the changeover for housing organisations. The chances are that it will also play a role in building even stronger tenant relationships.