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Boilers that automatically report faults and can be fixed remotely. Sensors that detect condensation so action can be taken to prevent damp and mould. Locks which don’t require a key so customers can let people in to do repairs when they’re not home.  These are just some examples of smart technology which will benefit our customers and our business in the future.  

We catch up with innovation analyst Jessica Kuznia who has been leading Yorkshire Housing’s work on Smart Technology. 

Hi Jessica, where is YH with Smart Technology? 
We’re doing learning, learning, learning and more learning! We’ve identified that there are lots of ways that smart technology can solve problems for YH and our customers. For example, boilers that self-diagnose faults mean we should always be able to fix them first time, sometimes remotely, – a win for us and for customers.  

There’s loads of smart technology on the market so we need work out what will work for our customers and our business. We’ve started running small scale pilots– for example we’re going to be rolling out temperature and humidity sensors that can detect the conditions for damp and mould to a small number of our customers in the Leeds area. We’re also looking at trialling smart boilers and smart locks in some of our new homes. We won’t be going big until we know we’re got the right products and partners. 

What are we looking for from suppliers?
We’re planning to invest in smart technology so we want suppliers who will work in partnership with us to understand the needs of Yorkshire Housing and our customers. We’ll need different solutions for different types of home, apps which are easy for customers to use, and systems that allow us to make the most of data.  

How’s this going to benefit customers? 
It means we’ll be able to offer a more proactive service, anticipating problems before they happen. It’ll also increase transparency and give customers more control. For example, humidity sensors come with apps which the customers can have on their phone. Smart locks will mean customers can control when people are able to go into their homes for repairs by giving them time restricted access.  

And finally, what’s your must-have smart gadget for your home? 
I love any technology that helps to simplify my life, but I’ll have to say over these past few months my must have gadget has been my smart thermostat. I don’t think I’d made it through the last heatwave in my flat without having been able to control the air conditioning!