Exploring Current Thinking In Remote Management & Monitoring

“Do you foresee the Coronavirus Pandemic increasing the need for more remote practices?” Base: All answering (138)

have not adopted the technology - though 15 per cent cited it as a barrier to adoption. Some of the remaining concerns included a lack of a “human touch,”

at 10 per cent, and unwilling tenants, at 7 per cent. Over half of the respondents who had not already adopted the technology cited that none of the barriers listed were relevant to them, with responses including that it had simply “not been considered,” or it just “never gets to the top of the pile of things to do.” A lack of information is perhaps the cause of many of the issues here -

issues which most remote technology proponents would argue to be misconceptions. When asked whether respondents thought there is enough information available on the implementation of the practices mentioned, 43 per cent said there was not. If remote technologies are to be adopted more widely, it is perhaps in education that progress can be best made.

SOLUTION ADVANTAGE In order for the housing sector to overcome these barriers and for remote technologies to become more commonplace across UK housing, it is important to delve deeper into the advantages that different remote technologies offer. Below are some of these methods, and the ways in which each are able to address some of the many issues facing the sector at present.

PREVENTATIVE INTERVENTION Emergency callouts and normal check ups and maintenance of facilities within housing stock calls for constant attention. This has long been worsened by the need to assess and diagnose a problem

before being in a position to effect a repair, and the chance of a return visit being necessitated by the acquisition of new parts is highly likely. Even when organised at its best, with a date and time booked for servicing or

repair, gaining access to a property can still prove troublesome. Any time wasted here can soon become a costly expense. ‘Intelligent’ appliances, such as a boiler with remote access features, enable

housing providers to monitor white goods and more in real time, with some models able to use machine learning to predict a system's failures - reducing uncertainties and saving time. Taking things a step further, some solutions are available through which

housing providers can not only monitor appliances remotely, but service, limit and reset them offsite, with performance data recorded and analysed on dedicated portals.

Smart meters are another monitoring tool, allowing building owners and tenants to pinpoint where energy consumption can be reduced

33 per cent of respondents reported that they believe preventative

intervention to be one of the biggest benefits of remote technologies, and 34 per cent cited ease of servicing. Despite even this recognition however, only 8 per cent of respondents reported that they currently use appliance monitoring technologies.

ENERGY-EFFICIENCY Energy efficiency is more important than ever, with climate change happening around us already, and the Future Homes Standard and its analogues set to enact lasting change in UK housing. There are many ecological benefits that remote technologies can bring to the

table, with the remote monitoring of appliances and housing technologies able to reduce and optimise power consumption and notify unnecessary or over-use. Using remote energy surveillance systems, for instance, housing managers

can optimise the energy performance of a site, and monitor the temperature of outlets and returns on hot water networks and ambient temperatures within a home. Such monitoring is both useful in detecting problems in a system, as well as avoiding health risks from dangerous bacteria such as legionella from developing. Smart meters are another monitoring tool, allowing building owners and

tenants to pinpoint where energy consumption can be reduced, and serving as a communication platform between appliances and devices to see where issues are most prevalent. One of the more common tools among our respondents, 26 per cent reported that they currently use smart meters in their own housing stock. 32 per cent of respondents listed energy-efficiency as a whole to be one of the

biggest benefits of remote technologies, with 16 per cent stating that they currently use remote heating controls.

IDENTIFYING VULNERABLE TENANTS Other than energy efficiency, such monitoring technologies also have another major benefit, and one that can potentially have life changing impacts - the identification of vulnerable tenants.

26 | HMM April/May 2021 |

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