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Regarding a subject close to my heart, last week I was pleased to receive a copy of the Housing Technology, ‘Internet Of Things in Housing’ report 2017/18. Its very timely as next week its #HousingTech2018 at the Oxford Belfry, and a number of sessions I notice touch on IOT experiences.
Back in November 2017, I did a spot at a Knightstone Housing day on data, around IOT. Part of that was a graph indicating explosive growth, anytime soon, in IOT. Much of my session did caution around the security aspects of emerging IOT and the patch-ability of devices. I illustrated this at the time with the story of the hacked Samsung internet fridges, coerced to do a classic denial of service attack. This neatly brought the problem home. I.E. that we are looking at quite raw technology here, that still has emerging standards being carved out.
The HT IOT report does seem to bear this aspect out quite well. While its maybe not the blazing saddles era, it might still be that of the ‘Good, Bad and the Ugly’, where IOT pioneers dare to tread. Barriers to adoption include recognised areas of security (11%), integration (18%) and a whopping 34% thinking IOT is plain ‘unproven’. Not brilliant for a pretty risk-averse sector, like social housing. So, manufacturers have work to do on the techie stability of these devices.
In a sector that often has large organisations lacking even the most basic necessities, for 2018, it is hardly surprising that between 39% & 69% of organisations, did not think that IOT was important, from an overall strategy viewpoint. Now I can understand if organisations are still awaiting enterprise-wide EDRMS, CRM, Mobile Working and usable customer self-service, in shoving IOT to the back of a large queue. These outfits clearly need to pull their socks up.
Fact of the matter is that IOT is here and already happening.
I did some work with a construction and building services corporation, last Spring, who specialise in ‘Smart Cities’. They were successfully scaling up a lot of techniques from ‘domestic gadgets’, into new built environments. Car parking and energy efficient lighting, the former which is highlighted in a case study, brought substantial benefits.
Any organisation lucky enough to be building new affordable housing, needs to embrace the possible benefits of IOT on offer here. Existing voids and care & support environments to different degrees, can easily leverage low cost IOT.
Interestingly, a rich variety of IOT devices were in use, or planned. Humidity and temperature sensors are by far the most popular installed. Considering the number of our residents, struggling with high costs of heating their homes, and in potential fuel poverty, this is an excellent place to start. Humidity, motion and chemical detectors have been proven in transient void environments, to manage our assets, at a time when damage can certainly occur and every day without a tenant really counts.
For me the key trick with IOT, to make it a success, is integration with our business applications. That is the icing on the cake and means we potentially can build systems that react to information, rather than just record a growing glut of data, we have to mine ourselves for insights.
For instance, we want to know when that care & support resident has not boiled the kettle this morning, (if they usually do), rather than the previous 48 times they managed it between 08:35 and 09:42 hrs. Without clear, useful, clever integration, we create yet more admin. If we have a frequency sensor on a lift motor, we need to know when its oscillation frequency changes, so we can do that (low cost) service check. Ideally too, that smart boiler, notifies us that it is poorly, a long time before it fails.
This report tells me a number of things. Socialhousing is not being ambitious enough in planning for IOT deployment. Perhaps CEO’s are not being sufficiently informed or enthused as to its potential. Secondly, finance teams & budget holders need to understand the potential efficiencies of the ‘smart estate’. Real time data about our stock, customer usage of energy and behaviour, will reduce repair spend, provide more proactive care & maintenance, potentially reduce energy bills and increase customer satisfaction.
Related Post: Automation via ICT is not always the right thing to do. Just look at the evolution of the Car Wash
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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