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Why are an increasing number of people in housing talking about TECH?

Blog by Geraldine Begg, Technology Enabled Care in Housing (TECH) Programme Co-ordinator and Graeme Hamilton, TECH Engagement Officer.

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Independent evaluations are proving that, as well as making tenants’ lives better, using appropriate technology as an enabler can also result in improved tenancy sustainment, meaning less turnover and voids, more efficient services, enhanced asset management, and, potentially, big savings.

As part of the Technology Enabled Care in Housing (TECH) Programme, we’re here to support housing organisations to think TECH.

So what exactly is TEC?’ I hear you ask…  

TEC is generic term, applied when any piece of technology is used in a way that enables a person to improve or manage their (or someone else’s) health, care or general wellbeing.  

The technology used may be a bespoke product, a type of software or something that you buy on the high street. It could be provided directly by a housing association, purchased by a tenant, their family or a local charity. Some TEC is provided by local health and/or social care services. Often excellent TEC solutions come from just making someone aware of how a certain functionality in an existing device could be used. 

When we talk about TEC in relation to housing, we call it TECH for short. Introducing or further developing the use of TEC in your housing organisation can be really simple and inexpensive – in fact, many of you may be using aspects of TEC without even realising! 

Here are just a few examples of TEC in action: 

  • getting the lights to turn on/off automatically, which helps people get to/from the toilet more safely at night time 
  • using video calling to keep in touch with loved ones that you don’t get to see as much as you’d like to
  • using the camera on your phone to have the text, e.g. on a label, letter or magazine, read out loud to you if you have a visual impairment, difficulties reading, or just forgotten your glasses.

There are many, many other examples of TEC, including devices that can call for help in an emergency, sensors that can predict changes in wellbeing whilst simultaneously supporting with property management and remotely supporting tenants to self-manage a range of conditions. 

So why are you hearing about TECH now?  

Higher expectations, an ageing population, pressure on services, growing digital opportunities and the impact that moving from analogue to digital connections will present to many housing organisations make this the ideal time to increase TECH activity. So, the Scottish Government has funded a two-year programme to provide support to the housing sector to help it further grow its knowledge and experience of TEC. 

You’ll find out about some of the larger projects funded by the first phase of the programme (TEC ready) on our website www.techousing.co.uk. You can also read about the TEC in Housing ‘TECH’ Charter which was launched by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP. Scottish housing organisations have the opportunity to sign up to the TECH Charter pledges. Signing up gives you the opportunity to join the growing TECH community which aims to support members by sharing TEC knowledge and experience, learning from others and developing shared resources. Initial priorities include developing a shared understanding of existing products, considering the importance of getting the infrastructure right, engaging with tenants and staff around identifying or developing appropriate solutions and, of course, staff training.  

Want to know more or shape the programme?   

Get in touch with one of us graeme.hamilton1@ntlworld.com  or  gbegg@sfha.co.uk

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