The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

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The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing Market Intelligence Report 2020

The Internet of Things &

Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

Market Intelligence Report

2020

Commissioned by Secure Meters (UK) Ltd


Contents

4 Forward from Nigel Ebdon

5 Executive summary

6 The Internet of Things

7 Smart cities

8 Connected homes

9 Connected landlords

10 Smart heat controls

12 The survey

12 Question one: Have you installed IoT solutions in your homes?

13 Question two: What IoT solutions have you installed?

14 Question three: Are you currently considering new home sensor solutions?

15 Question four: What IoT solutions are you considering?

16 Question five: What approach is your organisation taking to the Internet of

Things in homes?

17 Question six: How aware are you of the IoT solution smart heat controls?

18 Question seven: What are the two main barriers to the adoption of smart heat controls?

19 Question eight: Can you rate the importance of the following benefits of smart

heat controls?

The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

Market Intelligence Report 2020

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Forward from Nigel Ebdon

Development Manager at Secure Meters (UK) Ltd

Welcome to our 2020 Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart

Heat Controls Market Intelligence Report, exploring the

awareness and uptake of IoT and IoT solutions and devices

in social housing.

The concept of IoT may not be new, but as this report

suggests, the uptake of smart property and connected

devices in social housing is still in its relative infancy,

despite a number of early adopters blazing a trail.

Our research also suggests that mass adoption is

just around the corner, with the majority of landlords

considering an IoT solution.

This report follows our 2018 market intelligence report on

the uptake of smart heat technology in social housing,

which is still available on request.

Secure Meters (UK) Ltd has a long and proud heritage

in property technology in UK social housing, and we are

now innovating to develop a range of new applications, such as independent living solutions,

that will enable older or vulnerable people to live safely in their homes for longer.

Executive summary

This report covers the results of a recent IoT survey of social

housing asset, energy and sustainability professionals.

The key findings of the report are as follows:

• Over half of those surveyed have installed or trialled IoT sensor solutions in their homes,

however 40% are yet to do anything in this area.

• Uptake of technology is imminent with 80% currently considering new home sensor solutions.


The two leading sensor solutions adopted by landlords both relate to energy use: smart heating

systems and smart meters.

• IoT solutions being considered by social landlords are lighting, heating systems, water leakage

and damp protection, and carbon monoxide, smoke and fire alarms.

• 80% of respondents are aware of smart heat controls, and this is likely to translate into massadoption

over the coming years.

The two most valued benefits of smart heat controls both relate to tenant welfare, they are

supporting vulnerable tenants and reducing fuel poverty.

The two main barriers to the adoptions of smart heat controls are cost and the capital investment

required to purchase the technology.

I’m fully aware that social housing presents its own set of unique demands, so we always

welcome the input and feedback from housing professionals to ensure we’re innovating in the

right areas.

We hope that this report highlights our commitment to better understanding the challenges

facing our customers, and that you find its contents useful.

Nigel Ebdon

Development Manager

nigel.ebdon@securemeters.com

The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

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The Internet of Things

It’s now twenty years since the term the Internet of Things

(IoT) was first coined, and IoT is now a daily reality for most,

with millions regularly using or experiencing connected devices

- albeit often without knowing it.

Web connected ‘things’ can now be monitored and managed remotely, with terabytes of data ordered

‘granularly’ so it can aid or even dictate better machine or human decision making.

Smart cities

IoT technology sits within the wider smart city movement, which sees the everyday lives of millions

of people worldwide made easier and more secure by “previously undreamt-of services enabled

by digital” 1 .

Smart cities are as much a human as they are a technological revolution, changing the relationship

that citizens have with government, business and each other.

Financially, global smart city spend is set to exceed US $1 trillion by 2020, the majority of which will

be invested in big digital urban infrastructure, such as the 5G rollout in the UK.

For example:

• Local authorities know how many streetlights need to be replaced each day.



A heat service supplier knows which of its customers’ boilers will fail prior to winter.

Individuals can have chronic health conditions monitored remotely by care providers.

The web connected world

Personal

(Wearable, AV/VR)

Smart buildings

(Heat and lighting controls)

Automotive

(Monitoring driverless cars)

Infrastructure

(Smart cities, street lighting)

Logistics

(Visibility of goods)

Industry

(Supervisory controls,

efficiency, safety)

Retail

(Customer footfall

and interaction)

Financial services

(Customer security)

Healthcare

(Remote patient monitoring)

The home

(Heating, security, appliances)

1

Creating the smart cities of the future, pwc.

The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

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Connected homes

Individual households are also making their properties and domestic devices more connected by

investing in the latest home digital infrastructure.

This allows the proprietor to either control devices remotely via the web, or for systems, such as

heat, light, security or entertainment, to be optimised using data gathered from a variety of sensors

positioned around the home.

The web connected home

Connected landlords

The potential for IoT or smart technology in social housing is considerable, but the market’s unique

characteristics require tailored technologies.

Unlike most consumer technologies that are designed to primarily benefit the individual household,

social IoT solutions will also benefit the landlord by aggregating data from hundreds or thousands of

homes, aiding better housing stock decision making.

It’s these dual tenant/landlord benefits, and the potential improvements they can make to the

tenant customer experience, that makes connectivity so appealing.

Safety

(Carbon monoxide,

smoke & fire alarms)

Healthcare

(Independent living technology)

Tenants benefit from greater control over their homes and improved customer service, while

landlords can intelligently deploy resources to where they are most needed – reducing inefficiency

and solving problems earlier and in fewer attempts.

Connected social homes: driving up standards

Water

(Leak and humidity detection)

Heating

(Smart thermostats)

Landlord

Intelligently deploy resources,

improve customer service and

reduce inefficiency.

Lighting

(Remote lighting controls)

Utilities

(Smart metering, energy storage)

Gardens

(Connected irrigation systems)

Security

(Locking, monitoring

and alarm systems)

A recent EY survey of over 2,500 UK households has revealed 2 :

• 22% of UK households now own a voice-controlled digital home assistant device, such as an

Amazon Echo or Google Home, and 41% of households plan to own one in the next five years

• 12% of households own a smart heating device

• 11% own a smart lighting device



41% plan to own these products over the next five years

Smart security device ownership has reached 9%, with 37% of households expecting to own one in

the next five years.

Tenants

Improved customer experience

and offer more control over

home environment.

Appliance supplier

Monitor appliances,

tenants assistance,

and solve problems quickly

or before they occur.

Particular circumstances have also driven the social market. For example, the recently introduced

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act gives tenants more power against landlords who fail to

keep properties safe from hazards such as cold and poor air quality. 3

Sensors and the IoT will not only alert landlords to act and quickly fix failing properties, but also

leave a digital record of the condition of the home, which can be used as an auditable trail

if required.

Technology to aid independent living for older or vulnerable residents is also set to boom, with

sensors allowing people to safely live in their own homes for longer.

2

Taking stock of the smart home, EY, 2019 www.ey.com/uk/en/services/specialty-services/ey-taking-stock-of-the-smart-home

3

How to get your landlord to fix damp or mould as thousands of renters live in unsafe homes,

The Sun 26/6/19 www.thesun.co.uk/money/9371346/landlord-fix-damp-unsafe-homes/

The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

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Smart heat controls

Now recognised as an increasingly established technology,

smart heat controls (smart thermostats), have been deployed

by dozens of social landlords, often as their first foray into

mass roll-out IoT 4 .

So how do they work? And why are they proving

so popular?

Whereas a traditional thermostat just regulates temperature, a smart, connected thermostat uses

data from a variety of sensors in order to improve the efficiency of the entire heating system.

Systems can detect home occupancy using a variety of sensors, learn tenant behaviour, and switch

the users heating on and off when required. It is this combination of automation and increased

control that is changing the way occupiers interact with their heating systems and should save them

money in the process.

Smart sensors can monitor:

• Temperature (ambient and room)

• Humidity

• Occupancy and movement

• Boiler performance

• Carbon monoxide

The popularity of smart heat controls stems from the number of problems solved from a

single installation.

Tenants benefit from increased control, improved home environment and reduced fuel bills –

while landlords can identify and fix underperforming heating systems, and spot issues such as fuel

poverty and mould growth.

4

Smart heat technology in social housing market intelligence report 2018 www.yumpu.com/s/jp4h5vJGy3ISaXTE

The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

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The survey

Question two: What IoT solutions have you installed?

Conducted in January and February 2019, this survey was

completed online by UK social landlord professionals,

and follows on from Secure Meter’s 2018 survey: Smart Heat

Technology in Social Housing. Last year’s report can be found

at yumpu.com/user/BeanbagSmart

A

B

C

D

0%

9%

13%

35%

A

B

C

D

Security

Locking systems

Lighting

Heating systems

Question one: Have you installed IoT solutions in

your homes?

E

F

G

9%

9%

17%

E

F

G

Water leakage and damp protection

Carbon monoxide, smoke & fire alarms

Smart appliances

H

0%

H

Garden irrigation systems

A

20%

A

Yes in 100+ homes

I

4%

I

Healthcare

B

24%

B

Less than 100 homes

J

30%

J

Smart meters

C

12%

C

Only pilots installations

K

40%

K

None

D

40%

D

No

L

26%

L

Other

E

4%

E

Other (please specify)

10 20 30 40 50 60

10 20 30 40 50 60

The landlord responses are symptomatic of a technology still in the early stages of uptake.

Encouragingly 56% have installed or trialled IoT sensor solutions in their homes, but this is

countered by the fact that 40% have still to do anything in this area.

Like many markets, the advancement of technology in social housing tends to be influenced by a

small number of early adopters, including larger landlords such as L&Q, Guinness and Bromford and

smaller, nimble innovators such as Coastline Housing.

As IoT becomes increasingly proven and benchmarked, so the rates of market adoption should reach

near 100% in coming years.

The two leading sensor solutions adopted by landlords are both related to utilities; heat and energy.

35% of respondents have installed smart heating systems, while 30% have deployed smart meters.

Interestingly (supporting the findings in question one) the second most selected response is no

solutions installed as yet.

Mark England, Head of Technical Services at Coastline Housing, isn’t surprised by

these numbers:

Heating is an essential area of focus for landlords, but getting efficient heating systems

installed in the first place is the most effective route. Smart controls can then be added to

an already efficient system to provide additional benefits.

Smart metering is also interesting, because if landlords have fitted phase one meters then

their customers may have additional issues if they decide to change energy suppliers,

so this could lead to some dissatisfaction in the longer term.

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Question three: Are you currently considering new home

sensor solutions?

Question four: What IoT solutions are you considering?

A

16%

A

Security

A

80%

A

Yes

B

24%

B

Locking systems

B

20%

B

No

C

36%

C

Lighting

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

D

52%

D

Heating systems

80% responded yes to this question, and is further evidence that the growth of home sensor

solutions is set to accelerate dramatically over the coming years.

E

F

36%

48%

E

F

Water leakage and damp protection

Carbon monoxide, smoke & fire alarms

G

20%

G

Smart appliances

H

4%

H

Garden irrigation systems

I

24%

I

Healthcare

J

28%

J

Smart meters

K

24%

K

None

L

20%

L

Other

10 20 30 40 50 60

The responses to this question make for an interesting comparison to question two – what solutions

have been adopted compared to what are being considered.

Other than smart metering, technologies under consideration outperform those already installed in

every area.

The ‘none’ option also drops from 35% to 24%.

Matthew Gardiner, Head of Ideation at L&Q, comments:

Looking ahead, we’re investigating ‘digital twin’ - the ability to predictively model the

impact of component usage, and external factors, such as rainfall and temperature change,

on the performance of our assets in order to better manage them.

Looking beyond that? I can envisage self-repairing homes, where the house uses sensors

to detect problems, and orders the work and parts. The work is then done by robotic

or augmented reality workers using a HoloLens, with a house “wallet” paying the bill,

all improving the speed and quality of the work.

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Question five: What approach is your organisation

taking to the Internet of Things in homes?

Question six: How aware are you of the IoT solution

smart heat controls?

A

B

C

D

12%

12%

16%

60%

A

B

C

D

An individual problem solving approach

i.e. finding solutions for particular challenges

A wider strategic approach

Not currently being considered

Other

A

B

C

D

8%

12%

40%

40%

A

B

C

D

Very aware – we’re trialling or have

trialled/installed smart heat controls

Aware – we’re aware of smart heat controls

as a concept

Limited awareness – I’ve heard the term

smart heat controls

No awareness – I don’t know what

smart heat controls are

10 20 30 40 50 60 70

10 20 30 40 50

The purpose of this question is to understand if landlords are seeking IoT solutions to solve specific

problems, or are sensors and IoT part of a wider strategy.

Interestingly, a wider strategic approach proved to be the clear preference, securing 64% of

responses – with individual problem solving at 20%.

However, the validity of the answers given has to be called into question when you consider

relatively low levels of IoT adoption, and at the present time there is little real-life evidence of 64%

of landlords having an IoT strategy.

Questions two and four revealed that smart heat controls are one of the two most popular IoT

housing solutions with social landlords, and this is matched by perceived market awareness and

understanding of the technology.

80% of respondents claimed to be very aware or aware of the technology – and this is likely to

translate into mass-adoption over the coming years.

More likely IoT is being deployed to tackle various strategic priorities within businesses, such as:

• Identify high humidity and mould growth

• Reducing fuel poverty


• Locating failing boilers

Identifying malfunctioning smoke and fire alarms

Matthew Gardiner said:

L&Q’s strategic approach covers; what technology we deploy, in the kind of homes we

should be building, how we are organised and skilled to use the data generated, and how

we turn that data into actionable insights to improve the customer experience.

There has to be a strong digital culture in the whole organisation from the Board down

to every individual. We are making IoT deployment a part (and it is only a part) of a much

wider project to get ‘digital in our DNA’ within a decade.

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Question seven: What are the two main barriers to the

adoption of smart heat controls?

Question eight: Can you rate the importance of the

following benefits of smart heat controls?

1

237

1

Supporting vulnerable tenants

A

40%

A

The capital investment

2

234

2

Reducing tenant fuel bills

B

C

D

20%

20%

24%

B

C

D

Lack of information

Confusion over differing and

conflicting technologies

Other priorities

3

4

5

231

227

223

3

4

5

Improving repairs and maintenance efficiency

Using data to better manage your

housing assets

Improving customer service

E

32%

E

We need to trial the technology first

6

211

6

Increasing environmental

performance/efficiencies

F

28%

F

Other

7

209

7

Reducing costs

10 20 30 40 50 60

8

205

8

Reducing CO 2

The two leading barriers to adoption of smart heat controls are the cost and capital investment

required to purchase, and the need to trial and prove the value of technologies before committing to

significant installations.

Nigel Ebdon Market Development Manager at Secure Meters, comments:

Traditionally, thermostats had a low profile with landlords, as the purchasing decision was

made by a third party contractor or developer.

However, new connected, smart thermostats are significantly more expensive, so landlords

need the opportunity to trial them and prove they’re worth the investment. Most suppliers

have now made product ‘test driving’ a standard element of purchase.

190 200 210 220 230 240 250

Respondents were asked to score the importance of eight potential benefits of smart heat controls,

allowing perceived importance to be ranked.

Interestingly, the two most valued benefits are both related to tenant welfare, namely supporting

vulnerable tenants and reducing fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty remains a persistent problem in the UK, according to the Department for Business,

Energy & Industrial Strategy 2.53 million households are classified as fuel poor – that’s around

10% of homes 5 .

In its 2019 Fuel Poverty report, it highlights energy efficiency as one of three key solution drivers

(along with income and fuel prices).

As higher energy efficiency reduces a household’s fuel costs then as a result a household is

less likely to be classified as “high cost”. As fuel poor households get more energy efficient,

they have lower costs required to heat their homes and so the gap also decreases.

Although social homes tend to be more energy efficient than private rental sector properties,

landlords are quick to invest in technology that can further increase efficiency – particularly in the

face of rising fuel costs.

The third placed benefit is improving repairs and maintenance efficiency, which is most likely linked

to the remote monitoring of boilers, allowing landlords to prioritise those boilers and heating

systems that are most likely to fail.

5

Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics in England, 2019 (2017 data), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The Internet of Things & Smart Heat Controls in Social Housing

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Commissioned by

www.securemeters.com

sales@securemeters.com

+44 (0)117 978 8700

@BeanbagSmart

yumpu.com/user/beanbagsmart

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