Saffron Housing Trust has taken proactive steps to move away from hardwired alarm systems in preparation for Digital Switchover by partnering with Alertacall to deliver a more efficient service.
Norfolk based Saffron has introduced Alertacall’s Housing Proactive touchscreen across 230 of its homes in its supported housing schemes, replacing dated hardwired alarm systems as part of its commitment to upgrade technology.
The move has enabled Saffron to avoid expensive upgrades to hardwired alarms systems. Furthermore, the new system enables ongoing savings through the more efficient use of staff time.
Saffron has offered its customers greater flexibility, preparing them to engage digitally with their landlords ahead of Digital Switchover in 2025 when analogue telephone networks will be upgraded to digital Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks, impacting 81% of homes across the UK.
Housing Proactive combines digital engagement and personal contact with residents with higher needs for enhanced housing management, enabling contact with an expert team who cares. The technology enables residents to live independently, as well as providing a tailor-made service to customers, connecting eight of Saffron’s supported housing schemes.
During COVID lockdowns, Saffron’s housing management teams have been able to send out regular updates to tenants, enabling two-way digital communication with many colleagues working from home.
As part of the Housing Proactive service, residents receive a specially developed device, including the option of a touchscreen, each installed with an ‘OKEachDay’ button. Residents press the ‘OKEachDay’ button to pick up news and information from Saffron, or they are called by a highly trained team member from Alertacall. The touchscreen has a simple to use interface and is fitted with an any network SIM card (no WiFi is required to deliver the service).
Housing Proactive records digital and contact centre interactions which are available in real-time via secure online reporting, enabling access to a range of housing management information for social landlords.
Hannah Harvey, Executive Director – Operations, Saffron Housing Trust, said:
“We wanted to re-define our housing service for older people and replace ageing hardwired equipment with a more digitally progressive system, one which was not only more cost-effective but would offer tenants and staff more functionality. We opted for the Alertacall service with the Housing Proactive touchscreen and haven’t looked back. The transition to the service was seamless and feedback from tenants has been overwhelmingly positive.”
“The service has helped our team to proactively identify any issues relating to property or tenancy, significantly improved communication and given tenants greater flexibility in how they engage with their housing service. Decommissioning the hardwired system and using the touchscreen from Alertacall has actually enabled us to retain more supported stock, which we would have lost due to their location and given that upgrading the hardwired system was prohibitively expensive.”
“Furthermore, during the pandemic isolation and loneliness was a major issue across the rural areas of Norfolk and Suffolk; Alertacall’s system really has had a positive impact, helping our tenants maintain contact with their housing team and feel connected.”
Martin Cutbill, Director of Alertacall, added:
“Digital Switchover is on the horizon for all housing providers bringing opportunities for social landlords to reimagine their service offerings and improve efficiency. It’s great to see Saffron ahead of the curve, increasing levels of digital engagement and in preparation for Digital Switchover.
“Our Housing Proactive touchscreens enable digitally enhanced contact 365 days a year, providing greater flexibility for residents with how they engage with their housing service as well as enhanced insights into the changing needs of customers for landlords based on service interactions.”
Housing Proactive has a low weekly fee per property, with no setup, maintenance or capital costs and the service charge is eligible to be met by housing benefit. Housing Proactive can form the basis of an alternative solution to expensive hardwired systems in sheltered housing and comes with a free repairs reporting app as well as a range of additional service options, including sensors, dispersed alarms, WiFi deployment, video calling and door entry integration.
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