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Building Tomorrow’s Smart Homes

“We do not have a real market in real-estate provision; that’s why we have a housing crisis. Housing for everyone can only be provided by freely self-regulating and self-motivating smart market processes.” – Patrick Schumacher, Principal Architect of Zaha Hadid Architects

Social housing, a proactive strategy to identify housing issues early rather than wait for regulatory action, has become more popular in the last few decades. The advent of technologies like the Internet of Things(IoT) and Artificial Intelligence(AI) makes it easier for homeowners to make decisions based on accurate data. 

Recently, the University of Exeter partnered with Aico Home Link, a UK-renowned Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust(HACT), on a Sensor Systems for Social Housing project. In this project, the researchers created a guide for understanding and evaluating the social value of indoor sensor systems.

These are designed to gather data on indoor environmental conditions. IoT smart home-connected devices can be installed in residential homes to measure temperature, humidity, etc. Other factors are used to mitigate the risk of mould, dampness, and insufficient ventilation. 

In May 2023, the University of Exeter developed a working logic model during the first five months. The role of this logic model was to identify the changes that needed to be made early to improve an indoor environment, like opening windows or improving the use of heating.

Mould and Damp Prevention via IoT

According to the report of Invisible Systems, approximately 30% of housing stocks are considered to be at a high risk of mould, dampness, and condensation. On average, the cost of disrepair claims of mould is around $10,000 and even more. Various systems and toolkits are developed to pinpoint specific changes in housing conditions and prevent the risk associated with mould and damping using IoT more precisely.

The housing associations across the world widely recognised IoT-based social housing systems. Even researchers at Harvard University found that these systems would reduce unaccounted public health issues and poor conditions associated with social housing conditions.

“IoT social housing has the potential to deliver organisational benefits in social housing. However, there is a lack of understanding about the broader social value gained from such systems, and the best practice for adoption.”- Emma Bland, Assistant Professor at University of Exeter

Maryhill Housing’s IoT-Enabled Tower Blocks

The best example of the implementation of IoT in social housing is the Maryhill Housing project in Glasgow. This project was covered by Insider and found that three blocks of flats in Glasgow’s Maryhill were IoT-enabled. It was a collaborative project undertaken by partners, including the Scottish government, iOpt Assets, and CENSIS.

The prototypes of this project were developed by CENSIS using IoT to improve the well-being and safety of residents across the tower. There was also an installation of an IoT network that facilitated the entire project and enabled iOpt Assets to conduct its first IoT-enabled free trial in social housing.

At an event, Kate Forbes, MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, showcased the properties. While sharing her views, Kate said, “It provides a fantastic opportunity for partners from across sectors to work collaboratively to use IoT technology to increase the quality of living for social housing tenants.”

Maintenance and Resource Relocation

Smart sensors used in IoT-enabled homes can be used to measure and gather property parameters, which providers can feed into the database. As per the report of Gartner, by 2028, utilities will be the largest use case of IoT endpoints, which can reach 2.1 billion.

The social housing providers can use the data for maintenance and resource relocation. It benefited tenants who can control their bills through smartphone access and Housing Associations, who can use data insights for building smart homes. In addition, IoT devices used in houses can also alert about incorrect parking across emergency exits and fire lanes.

A Step Towards Safe and Sustainable Homes

The quality and technological facilities in housing profoundly affect residents’ health and well-being. During cold weather, people might face issues like dampness and mould, which can significantly impact their health. A company like Aico|HomeLINK brings revolution by providing required IoT-enabled toolkits to create safer and healthier social housing. 

Today, IoT technology revolutionises the housing sector and improves the life and wellbeing of tenants. It acts as a bridge between the housing associations and tenants by creating long-lasting relationships. Property providers continuously develop more IoT-enabled sensors with wide-range capability, connectivity and deployment to provide smart and sustainable homes to the people.


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