28 September 2018

The internet of things is one of those ‘near future’ scenarios which feels closer every day.

Situations which were unthinkable a few years ago are becoming commonplace now as more and more ‘things’ get connected to enhance the human experience by providing real-time information which helps change behaviours, increase safety and make some activities disappear. Kevin Kelly talks about the ‘cognification of everything’ where connected devices use the power of machine learning and AI to deliver ground-breaking new capabilities which are particularly exciting in the area of assisted living which is likely to grow significantly as per future demographic trends.

All these capabilities are changing the way we perceive the world around us, with visions of human and machines working together seamlessly and other, more dystopian futures, where machines take over. This is particularly interesting in the ‘smart home’ which is a fertile breeding ground for a lot of new IoT technology (sometimes with hilarious consequences).

The Housing sector is looking at the opportunities that connected devices and smart algorithms can deliver to transform the services provided to customers. There are obvious benefits of being able to predict the maintenance needs of the components in the home and move significant spend away from reactive to planned maintenance. There are also benefits for residents who can see their bills reduced and be more informed about their living conditions which changes the conversation between the landlord and the resident quite significantly.

If this is such a no-brainer, why haven’t we seen an IoT revolution in Housing yet? There are still issues that need to be addressed for all the good ideas and positive early trials to gain momentum. Perhaps the most important one is around security and data protection. A lot has been said about the relationship between tenants and landlords and in an environment where trust is low, introducing smart devices into people’s homes is not easy. More needs to be done to reassure residents that the data from these devices will be used appropriately and that the benefits from the technology will be shared with them. There is also a significant concern about the security of IoT devices, because they are now controlling things in the ‘real world’ the consequences of security incidents can be catastrophic.

Arturo Dell

Arturo Dell is Director of Technology and Innovation at HouseMark

Smart thing, you make my house sing