Bluetooth beacons and data loggers are becoming attractive for a range of environment monitoring for social housing. Blue Maestro and the Connected Home Consortium (CHC) have commenced a pilot by ten of the UK’s top social housing providers for the use of Tempo Environment Monitors to assist them and their tenants better assess the quality of the environment in their accommodation and assist in remedying any issues. One in eight homes in the UK is owned by a social housing association and are collectively the biggest home owners in the country.
Tempo Environment Monitor is a Bluetooth sensor and data logger that monitors temperature, humidity, dew point and barometric pressure. It stores 24,000 data points and its data can be easily harvested by a smartphone.
CHC pilots aim to get the best new technology out in the wild to allow social housing providers to discover how new devices can help solve old problems, while also providing valuable feedback to tech companies about what works in the real world and what really doesn’t!
This first pilot is focusing on technology to help manage tenancy issues related to temperature, damp and condensation in an accommodation unit. Social housing providers want to ensure that their residents live in comfortable and safe environments and with millions of pounds worth of assets to maintain, having the insight to make the right ventilation modification or offer the correct advice to alleviate a damp problem is crucial.
Connected Home Consortium members piloting the pebble-like environment sensor are using it to find out if it can provide this type of insight during a pilot that will run for 3-4 months.
Blue Maestro’s Tempo is a small and lightweight, temperature, humidity and pressure sensor which can record environmental conditions every 2 seconds. Readings from the device are collected by a smart phone running the Tempo app over Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart).
Social housing providers can use the devices to supplement their current processes for dealing with temperature, heating, condensation and damp issues while also discovering new approaches enabled through the technology. Blue Maestro and CHC are encouraging Housing Providers to experiment with the devices in ways not possible with existing tools used for measuring environmental conditions in the home. Traditionally, kit used for moisture and temperature measurement would be expensive and require an expert to calibrate, Tempo’s simplicity and low price point overcome both these issues.
Early feedback has indicated that social housing providers are excited about the ease of roll out, configuration and data collection. The process is so simple that the devices can distributed and installed without the involvement of a specialist, thereby saving cost and enabling a faster more proactive response to tenant complaints.
As sensor technology becomes cheaper and more connected, access to data on the environmental performance of homes will become increasingly abundant and form part of a housing provider’s housing management system. Using these vast data-sets, predictive and targeted maintenance interventions will be possible, not to mention new insights into fuel poverty and the links between health and heating. This data can also be used when it comes to designing new accommodation, informing design with information never before available.
Right now we want to discover if the Tempo will enable housing providers to help their residents understand the thermal properties of their accommodation, through providing them with clear advice based on the evidence and insight about the resident’s specific home. Housing Providers will also attempt to identify where more serious maintenance may need to be carried out. Blue Maestro are interested in all use-cases – successful and unsuccessful – so they can further develop their product to meet the challenges and issues experienced in UK housing.