Smart social housing: how IoT is saving the social housing sector

16 March 2020

Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products, Comms365

Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products, Comms365

Head of IoT and Products at Comms365, Nick Sacke, looks at the ways in which IoT can be used to create smarter, safer social housing

Social housing associations are constantly under increasing pressure to adapt to a dynamic, challenging landscape, as the demand for more affordable social housing increases across the UK.

With the rollout of smart technology taking place in allied industries, the opportunity for IoT technology in social housing can be transformative, with the potential to make developments safer, more energy-efficient, easier to manage and therefore cheaper to run.

There are several pilot projects and proof of concept trials being rolled out by HAs, and the initial results are encouraging, however,, not one technology solution fits all scenarios. This means that a number of considerations need to be addressed in the planning phase before the work can begin.

Maintenance and resource allocation

By 2020, utilities will be the largest use case of IoT endpoints, increasing to 17% in 2020 to reach 1.73 billion endpoints. And the integration of smart sensors within residential properties will inevitably boost this adoption.

Smart sensors can be used to measure and gather data from a number of property management parameters including temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, noise and people movement. This data can then be shared with providers who can feed it into the network, benefiting HAs, who can use the data insights for predictive maintenance, allowing for better and more effective resource allocation.


The greater the volume of data harvested from individual properties, the more trending and predictive analysis can be undertaken, leading to enhanced accuracy and forecasting, combined with new data visualisation techniques.

A key consideration in the deployment of multiple IoT devices is that they are able to utilise a common communications network infrastructure to connect and deliver data to applications in the cloud. Standards in Low Power Wide Area Networks such as LoRaWAN and Narrowband IoT have now emerged globally, and are helping diverse device manufacturers to produce products that conform to these communications protocols, making large deployments easier to deploy and manage in large geographic areas. This enables large scale coverage and a holistic view across estates of devices and dwellings. If these standards and methods are followed, overheads for device management and reporting can indeed be minimised.


With the demand for more energy-efficient housing on the rise, the expectation for more intelligent homes is increasing. Providers are actively developing more sensors with wider-ranging capability, connectivity and deployment at scale. The vision and objective for this type of technology intervention is to allow housing stock to connect seamlessly to facilities management and operations, exchange relevant data for insight and action, and deliver safer, smarter, economical, environmentally conscious and easier to manage social housing.

By Nick Sacke, head of IoT and products, Comms365