Are all providers of supported housing the same and do all their residents have the same needs and expectations? The answer is a resounding No.
Housing providers will have a different focus on their provision, some will want to focus on a safe environment, others on somewhere people can flourish in older age. There are some housing providers with emphasis on an ethnicity, others who are looking to differentiate their offering in a crowded housing market. Each housing provider has a different strategy and residents with differing needs.
The technology on offer to housing providers over the last 30 years has been very unsupportive. You would practically find the same telecare equipment in a basic sheltered home in Torquay, as you would in a high-end retirement property in Manchester. The only difference might be the slight difference in shade of beige of the equipment or a hanging cord rather than a big red button on a dated looking box.
Therefore, digital telecare really strikes a chord with me. Yes, the equipment is modern, and the overall service is exponentially better, but the important element is that digital offers customers choice and the ability to meet the specific, individual needs of their residents.
We live in the age where choice is in abundance and the focus is on the consumer. You can choose a toaster from a choice of about 20 different colours in Argos, you can catch-up on your favourite TV series whenever and wherever you like, and you can select from thousands of different apps you want on your tablet.
This has become our minimum expectation as consumers, we expect things to be designed and be specific to our needs.
Telecare has not offered this level of choice for many years, it has been a one size fits all service. But this has changed with the introduction of digital telecare. Think of it like an iPad; you can choose what services you have, and which ones are the focus. Furthermore, you are not stuck with this choice for life, we recognise that needs change over time.
The LivingHub is the resident’s wall mounted tablet in our suite of digital telecare services, Smart Living Solutions. We consult with our clients on how the interface of that system should appear, we listen to their needs and input our expertise, in order to design a user interface that is bespoke for their residents.
Some of our clients have preferred to solely focus on safety, but others have introduced many other features, including linking to their own existing apps, portals and website. As not all residents have the internet, the LivingHub can become a great way to provide residents with access to your existing digital services. You can even brand the interface with your own colours and logos, so this really does become an extension of your business.
Digital telecare must be at the forefront for housing providers
Our survey in 2018, with The HousingLIN highlighted that the number one priority for housing providers in 2019 is to improve the customer experience. One in four of these providers were looking to differentiate their offering through the introduction of technology. Digital telecare must be at the forefront for housing providers in order for us to achieve these objectives.