Those summer heatwaves certainly feel like a lifetime ago while I sit clutching a mug of hot coffee and looking out across my snowy garden.
Thinking back over the year, it has been a time of achievement and growth for IoTSG. Still, there is no ignoring the multiple crises and challenges affecting families and businesses across the UK. I am proud to say that we are increasingly supporting organisations to identify homes and residents needing additional support this winter. It, therefore, seems fitting that the Collins word of the year is permacrisis. Similarly, if I were to pick a word of the year for IoTSG, it would have to be...
I have seen time and time again the value of partnership working and co-production, which enables us to provide technology that is needed and provides real tangible benefits.
DORIS care was developed in collaboration with the South London Partnership to help address the challenges this combined group of local authorities faced during Covid. In the first 12 months of the project deployment, four lives were saved by our DORIS care sensor and alerting system.
As a result of the collaboration, the South London Partnership InnOvaTe project – with DORIS care was this year recognised by Connected Britain, winning the Smart Places Award 2022.
We continue to work closely with Sutton, Kingston and the other boroughs of the South London Partnership to deliver critical insights that help support their residents. For example, this year, in response to a request from the team, we introduced alerts for extreme heat during this year’s heat waves, as well as alerts for conditions that could lead to damp and mould and result in negative health and wellbeing impacts for vulnerable residents.
These developments follow previous collaborative work with SLP to identify residents experiencing fuel poverty.
Sunita Gordon, Lead Member for Resources, London Borough of Sutton:
“As part of a trial with IoT Solutions Group and South London Partnership’s Innovate Project, we identified that 30 per cent of our residents showed fuel poverty signs last winter.
“Some low-temperature alerts went off because residents did not know how to use their heating or the heating needed repair, which meant we could help them.
“Crucially, some people did need help with the cost of their heating, and our Independent Living Officers helped them apply for support so they wouldn’t end up cold at home.
“This winter, with rising living and fuel costs, we are worried that even more homes will experience fuel poverty, risking the health and wellbeing of our residents. These sensors are critical to making sure people get the help they need when they need it.”
In July this year, we were proud to announce our partnership with the UK’s leading personal alarm provider, Taking Care. Combining DORIS care with Taking Care’s award-winning response service (branded as Taking Care Sense) meant that our unique monitoring system became available to the broader UK population.
A recent YouGov survey by Taking Care revealed that many people are wary of monitoring technology, such as cameras (54 per cent) and microphones (29 per cent), and didn’t want them installed in their homes. Therefore, our partnership with Taking Care supports the many residents who will not accept cameras or microphones monitoring them at home.
Steve Gates, Managing Director at Taking Care:
“Integrating AI technology with telecare is a potential game-changer and will be an instrumental part of introducing preventative, inobtrusive care solutions into the homes of vulnerable older people.
“This ground-breaking smart technology can now be used to help safeguard older people and empower them to live more independently at home. For many, a personal alarm worn around the neck or wrist isn’t for them for various reasons. Taking Care Sense removes that worry… Above all, it gives much-needed peace of mind and reassurance for loved ones.”
We are so pleased to be able to make this life-saving monitoring system available for even more vulnerable or elderly citizens across the UK – Taking Care Sense is available to buy online or over the phone from the Taking Care team - 0800 085 7371.
Northern Trains waste management provider, Biffa, approached us to help support the Northern Trains team in reaching their recycling targets. With an ambitious target to recycle 70% of the waste produced at their sites, Northern Trains and Biffa adopted our smart bin sensors for fill-level insights and more.
This exciting collaboration with Biffa exhibits yet another way remote monitoring can help companies reach their sustainability targets.
Nick Coleman, Energy & Environment Support Manager for Northern Trains:
“The data that these sensors provide is so valuable for our sustainability targets. By knowing where we are now, we can accurately set a benchmark and identify how we can improve. With the sensors continually monitoring the fill levels, we can quickly and easily measure the impact of various initiatives to encourage more recycling, helping us reach that important 70% goal.
“Innovative work like this is essential for working towards a sustainable future, and it is great to be working alongside companies like yourselves who share that vision and are willing to implement change to get there.”
Earlier this year, we were thrilled to form a new strategic partnership with Chirpy Heat Ltd. Their expertise in heat networks, alongside our monitoring capabilities, is helping support housing providers working to improve their properties. Whether part of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund or tackling housing quality during the ongoing energy crisis, I am proud that we are assisting organisations in making improvements to UK housing stock.
Members of the National Housing Maintenance Forum can rewatch my session alongside Josh Davis from Chirpy Heat at December’s NHMF Webinar - Meeting the energy cost crisis now from 6th December.
Additionally, I shall be presenting in a session with Nicholas Doyle from Chirpy Heat at the NHMF Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon on Tuesday, 24th January 2023 – book your conference tickets here. I look forward to discussing strategic approaches and quick actions for managing damp and mould risk.
The TEC Action Alliance, launched in the spring of 2022, aims to use the opportunities presented by technology and TEC services to promote individualised, high-quality care through cross-sector collaboration and co-production. A vast array of digital Technology Enabled Care solutions is available, but it is evident that a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible in this sector.
We are delighted that the TEC Action Alliance is striving to “ensure that person-centred, technology-enabled care is actually co-produced with service users.”
The Alliance’s goals and values are very similar to our own. CEO Emma Mahy frequently states that “we don’t shoehorn technology into organisations; instead, we search for ways that technology can solve the difficulties that organisations confront, in an informative, yet user-friendly, way”. This co-production with service users is key to supporting this sector, and we look forward to helping the TEC Action Alliance to deliver its goals in 2023.
Continuing to look ahead into next year, I am really excited to continue helping housing providers identify homes that are so cold or damp that they are affecting residents’ health, as well as helping identify homes for retrofit decarbonisation measures. Making homes warmer, easier, and more efficient to heat whilst reducing their carbon footprint is a win-win-win for residents, landlords and the environment. We look forward to seeing more of this next year as schemes like the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund continue and make real improvements to people’s lives and the carbon footprint of UK housing stock.
None of our successes this year would have been achieved without the tireless support of the whole IoTSG team or our wonderful customers – thank you all!