UK social housing has many interesting and unusual quirks that make it a sometimes daunting prospect to those who approach it from outside the sector- yet 1 in 5 UK homes is a social home and so housing represents a massive opportunity for a technology provider with the right solution.

That’s why this this month, in a first-of-its-kind event, HACT and techUK brought together some of the most forward-thinking minds in housing to explain their challenges and describe their technology wish lists. The audience made up of techUK members many of whom had never before worked with UK housing were invited to explore the potential for building for this market and to develop solutions which set out to address real world problems.

Housing providers want to move towards predictive repairs, increase the use of digital communication channels with residents and bring in more automation and artificial intelligence to help run their businesses more efficiently and provide a better service to residents. This requires the support of the technology sector to make it happen and a closer working relationship between both parties can make this happen.

Speakers Nick Atkin CEO, Halton Housing Trust, Tom Harrison, Project Manager London Borough of Hackney, Charlotte Semp, Director of Strategy & Investment, Notting Hill Housing Group and Adam Rigg, New Media & Channel Specialist, Red Kite Community Housing laid out some of the biggest issues facing the sector and their individual organisations.

Covering everything from the impending challenges brought by the introduction of universal credit to the opportunities afforded by the better use data in managing cyclical repairs the speakers set out to inspire the technology sector.

Nick Atkin CEO, Halton Housing Trust at the event said:

“It’s a great opportunity to meet with a range of technology suppliers who may not have previously considered bringing their solutions into the housing sector. Having fresh perspectives on the challenges we face can be what it takes to generate the sort of innovative responses required to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.”

From a technology sector perspective it was an opportunity to engage with real world problems

Jay Saggar, HACT Innovation Launch Pad Coordinator, said:

“Too often we see emerging technologies fail as they are not directly addressing a real world problem, moving from tinkering and cool ideas to a sustainable business requires a clear return on investment- the UK social housing sector has many challenges that technology can help to solve and therefore offers a great opportunity for technology community to take advantage of.”

Matthew Evans, Executive Director of techUK’s IoT Programme, said:

“We believe that smart and connected home technologies can deliver significant value to their users, be that consumers, tenants, landlords or businesses. This event allowed technology companies to really explore the potential in applications and the business opportunity in the housing association sector.”

HACT and techUK will be holding a follow up event on January 23 – where the technology community including many of the technologies featured on the launch pad will be invited to show off new products to an audience of UK social landlords interested in bringing the latest innovations to their businesses.

If you have great technology that could make a difference in housing get in touch.