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Exploring Current Thinking In Remote Management & Monitoring INDUSTRY SURVEY


Exploring current thinking in remote management and monitoring


maintenance, or for social housing professionals looking to check in on their vulnerable tenants, gaining physical access often causes inconvenience to the tenant and visitor. The issues have been highlighted during the Covid-19 Pandemic, where


T


physical access has hit an all time low. Tenants have been fearful of letting anyone at all inside their residence, worried about the spread of germs, and many housing professionals have been kept away from their offices during the UK’s multiple lockdowns. While physical access was once a necessity to manage or monitor a rental


property however, an array of technologies have emerged to combat this, and they can allow landlords and housing providers to achieve many of the same tasks remotely and even automatically across the internet. From smart electricity meters and remote fire, smoke and carbon monoxide


alerts, to video conferencing and online tenant communication, such technologies can allow for virtual access to a property, its inhabitants, and its appliances, and even instant monitoring data on an appliance’s functionalities and automated responses and actions as a result. Remote technologies are wide ranging, and their benefits are similarly so.


These include preventative intervention, catching issues before they are left to fester unreported; energy and cost efficiency, eliminating wasteful visits and identifying inefficient offenders; ease of servicing, with many physical visits now made redundant; the identification and monitoring of vulnerable tenants, who need more care than ever; the ease and efficiency of data gathering and worker convenience. While these benefits are now being recognised however, and the technologies


are being adopted and their use increasing, there are still many in the industry who push back against its implementation. This reticence can come from a number of sources. Unwilling tenants can


cause obvious issues, there are often concerns around regulation and legal uncertainties, a lack of a ‘human touch’ is often cited, and some landlords simply believe the technologies to cost too much at present. Through a survey of 166 housing professionals from across the UK,


conducted by Housing, Management & Maintenance and supported by researchers at Edge Insight, it has been found that 91 per cent of housing professionals believe that remote technologies will be widespread in the next 10 years, and 66 per cent have already adopted them to some degree. This White Paper will delve deeper into some of these technologies, their


benefits and the issues they can solve, as well as attempt to ascertain what barriers are preventing the 34 per cent of respondents from adopting them, and what has prevented the wider adoption of its variants.


INTRODUCTION WHAT REMOTE ACCESS IS Remote access, management and monitoring in housing describes a range of technologies that allow housing professionals and tenants to perform a number


he physical access, management and monitoring of properties has always been a challenge for housing professionals. Whether it is landlords wishing to enter their properties to enact vital


“Do you currently use any form of remote access, management or monitoring?”


of their normal functions - such as enter a home, communicate with one another, send documents back and forth, or check on the performance of boilers and fire alarms - over the internet, as opposed to the once essential need for a human on site. Housing professionals can now remotely monitor appliances, security


systems and fire, smoke and carbon monoxide alerts, they can work from home and still access all the relevant data online, they can video conference with colleagues and clients, and tenants can do the same, submitting forms online on their computer or phone, and remotely control their heating, cooling and lighting systems.


HOW IT GOT STARTED A few years ago it seemed like science fiction - or at least exclusive to the rich and famous - that a home’s lights could be controlled by voice, or its heating controlled remotely while holidaying on the other side of the globe, an ‘internet of things’ (IOT) connecting every device in a home to the internet and allowing them to communicate digitally. These technologies are now becoming more commonplace in the home


however, and the potential for their applications in social and rental housing are almost limitless. Housing providers are now able to manage their entire stocks remotely and


automatically, eliminating the requirement to gain physical access almost entirely, with all device data being transmitted wirelessly in real time via a secure cloud network.


www.housingmmonline.co.uk | HMM April/May 2021 | 23


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