For the last 7 months or so Blue Maestro carried out an extensive pilot of our Tempo Environment Monitor with 10 of the top UK housing associations to test its usefulness and fit for purpose in a housing association, social housing or rented accommodation use case. The trial involved 100 Tempo Environment Monitors deployed in the field. We carried out this pilot through the Housing Associations Charitable Trust (or HACT) who sourced the participants and helped oversee the trial. Well the results are in and in this blog we summarise the results.
What is Tempo?
Tempo monitors and logs temperature, humidity and barometric pressure and can store hourly values over 30 days. It requires no plugs or wires being designed to operate for up to a year on 2xAA batteries. It is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones.
Why is Tempo relevant for landlords?
Housing associations have extensive issues with damp and condensation which is predominantly due to the age of a lot of the housing association stock in the UK. However a significant portion of damp and condensation cases is due to the lifestyle of the housing association tenant, be it fuel poverty where there is insufficient heat in the unit during winter through to poor ventilation where windows and doors are kept constantly closed in a housing unit which is occupied 24 hours a day.
Housing associations need to understand the source of the damp and condensation before considering any remedial work since the addition of insulation to a unit which receives no ventilation and the lifestyle of the tenant is predominantly the cause of the dampness or condensation is unlikely to solve the problem on its own and could be a waste of precious housing association resources.
Also in determining the effectiveness of any remedial work the deployment of a Tempo device immediately prior to and following the remedial work can provide valuable feedback as to the benefits of the remedial work vs the cost of it. This can assist in ongoing decision making on how best to carry out remedial work and whether it is worth the cost.
Tempo is flexible in that it doesn’t require an internet connection to be useful. The data can be harvested by a smartphone which makes Tempo flexible and reduces the overall cost of the solution in terms of additional hardware/ongoing subscription costs. Naturally harvesting the data by smartphone introduces additional labour into the solution, and in the UK labour is expensive, especially when fully weighted with the full costs of an employee. More on this shortly.
How the survey was carried out
HACT organised the trial and carried out the survey. Blue Maestro had no part to play in the survey other than reviewing the questions in advance, so the results of the survey are close to “independent” as is possible.
The results of the survey was as follows:
- 80% of participants found Tempo to be moderately to extremely reliable. 10% of participants found Tempo not to be reliable at all;
- 90% of participants found Tempo to be moderately to very useful. No participants found Tempo “not useful”;
- 50% of participants found Tempo to be ready for wider deployment in their business. 30% of participants said Tempo requires a “few tweaks” prior to wider deployment while 20% of participants said Tempo requires “lots more tweaks” prior to wider deployment;
- At £45 plus VAT, 80% of participants said Tempo’s price point was either satisfactory or good. 20% of participants said Tempo’s price point would limit is wider deployment.
Participants were also asked for feedback in relation to issues/problems they found and any improvements they would like to see made to it. There were about 3 or 4 key ones, many of which had already been addressed while the trial was underway. For example a couple of participants observed that some of the Tempos were suffering excessive current drain leading to the batteries needing to be replaced within a few months. This was an issue with the chip being used in those particular devices which Blue Maestro no longer uses in its products. We won’t go into detail with these comments as there is no easy way to summarise them. Suffice it to say we have found them extremely useful in improving the products.
Thanks to HACT and the housing associations
We would like to the housing associations that took part, especially to all of those that purchased the trial units after the trial and Matt Leach and Jay Saggar at HACT for the work that they did in organising the trial and getting the feedback. We look forward to continuing our engagement with these and new housing associations to improve Tempo and provide other solutions in terms of rental accommodation monitoring.
If you would like to understand how Blue Maestro can help in the monitoring of your rental accommodation (be it domestic or commercial) get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 20 7043 6306.