Exploring Current Thinking In Remote Management & Monitoring

THE TECHNOLOGY AS IT STANDS TODAY It wasn’t until the early 90s that the social housing sector even began to adopt computing technology in any serious way, and this late adoption directly reflects its approach to remote technologies. Even now in 2021, 33 per cent of our respondents reported that they don’t

currently use any form of remote access, management or monitoring at all, 67 per cent of those have no plans to do so in the future, and many of those who do largely adopted such technologies due to the Pandemic and the need to work from home. Times are changing, however. When asked when they believed remote access

will be widespread in housing, only 4 per cent said it was never likely to catch on, 4 per cent that it would take over 10 years, 10 per cent in the next 10 years, 38 per cent in the next 5, 22 per cent in the next 2 years, and 22 per cent in the next year. It is therefore clear that the adoption of this technology is inevitable in the

near future, and as such housing professionals who are behind here must catch up.

PROBLEM ASSESSMENT WHY IS THE TECHNOLOGY NECESSARY? With overheads high enough across housing, there is not always the budget to adopt technologies simply because they are better than their predecessor. There are however many important and even life-threatening issues

in UK housing to which these remote technologies can directly address, and in many cases it is now becoming more cost-effective to use them than to not. The reasons why people make the move to remote technologies are varied.

When asked why they adopted the technology, 74 per cent of respondents who already use remote technologies reported that the Covid-19 Pandemic first prompted them to start. An even greater majority of all respondents, 80 per cent, said that they foresee the Pandemic increasing the need for remote practices. One of the next highest reasons for adoption was tenant safety, at 28 per

cent, alongside the related identification of vulnerable tenants at 12 per cent, and the ageing of tenants at 7 per cent. Age UK has predicted that the number of those aged 65 and over will rise to over 16 million by 2033 (up 40 per cent), so an increase in vulnerable tenants is inevitable in the years to come, meaning any technologies with the capability to address this will prove essential.

“When (if ever) do you believe remote access, management and monitoring in general will be widespread across the housing sector?” Base: All answering (135)

Matters of efficiency and convenience took up much of the rest of the

responses. 31 per cent adopted the technology for worker convenience and reduced hours, 15 per cent for ease of servicing, 18 per cent adopted the technology to increase the ease and efficiency of data gathering, 15 per cent to save costs, and 17 per cent to increase the energy efficiency of their housing stock.

WHAT’S STOPPING ITS ADOPTION? Despite all the issues the technology is able to address, its adoption is not entirely widespread across the sector as yet. Our research has uncovered multiple reasons behind this. For those that don’t currently use such technologies, when asked why -

conversely to its cost-saving potential indicated in the earlier question - it was the initial cost that proved to be the biggest issue for respondents, at 29 per cent. Uncertainties of performance covered a lot of the barriers respondents'

worried about, with 7 per cent concerned about the technology's reliability, and 7 per cent unsure of the regulatory and legal issues around the installation and use of such technologies. Notably, no respondents cited security as a reason they

“What prompted you to start using these forms of remote access, management or monitoring?” Base: All who currently use remote access, management or monitoring systems (all answering) (98)

24 | HMM April/May 2021 |

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