Liverpool affordable housing provider Plus Dane launches three pilot schemes to test out technological innovations to support its tenants. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool housing provider Plus Dane is trailing a trio of technological innovations to improve the lives of their tenants.
Plus Dane, which has more than 13,500 homes across Merseyside and Cheshire, is teaming up with the Disruptive Innovators Network (DIN) on the three pilot projects. They are Hello Lamppost, Safecility and HelpmeFix.
DIN is one of the fastest growing innovation and transformation communities. DINLabs bring together social housing organisations to help them invest in innovation through pilot projects which address specific issues.
This platform allows Plus Dane to engage with the local community via a QR code or text, positioned on floors, lampposts and communal areas.
Tenants can scan the codes and enter a conversation with AI communications bots that have been pre-loaded with thousands of answers about improvement projects in that area.
Plus Dane has chosen Brunswick Estate in Congleton for this pilot as the area is undergoing a range of investment works.
Vicky Lockwood, head of compliance and building safety at Plus Dane, said: “It adds another method for communicating with customers, giving people more options and opportunities to engage with us.
“It also allows us to say much more than a traditional planning notice or plaque and it is a two-way engagement which gives real-time feedback.”
Emergency lighting is crucial within housing schemes and is a legal requirement. However, it can be resource-intensive to monitor and check.
This Safecility installation provides Plus Dane with an automated monitoring and notification of its emergency lighting system.
If a compliance failure occurs it is immediately flagged by the software and a repair visit can be organised. It could mean that manual checks and reporting compliance could be reduced.
Plus Dane has chosen Kinsman Court, Liverpool for this DINLab pilot, which has just recently been completed by contractors Maintec.
This system triages repairs for customers over a video call. It allows customers to do a simple repair (such as reset their boiler) via video, with guidance from a professional to resolve simple repairs first time.
It reduces visits, cuts the repair waiting time and improves customer satisfaction. Plus Dane launched this video triage pilot in late June for a small selection of responsive repairs.
Vicky added: “Some customers are comfortable resolving simple repairs themselves with a little guidance. From bleeding a radiator to resetting a message on a heating system.
“Using video triage gives those customers that extra confidence to perform these repairs with the support of a professional on the end of the call. Removing the need for the customer to wait at home for the repair appointment.”
Each Lab will be trialed for 12 weeks and the findings will be available to DIN members early next year.
Jenny Danson, proptech innovation network director at DIN, said: “We are expecting lots of learning from these projects, and potentially a better and more cost-effective way of providing these important services.”