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Why Appello and Housing 21 were awarded the Best Use of Technology in Seniors Housing

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In partnership with Housing 21, a leading not-for-profit provider of Retirement and Extra Care living for people over the age of 55, we recently won the award for the Best Use of Technology in Seniors Housing.


This award recognised how the installation of Appello’s digital Smart Living Solutions (SLS) system, into Housing 21’s properties, demonstrated innovation and excellence across the housing sector by providing a vital means of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Where did Appello and Housing 21’s journey begin?

We have been working in partnership with Housing 21 for over 5 years who took an early initiative to embark on a digital transformation journey. The catalyst for this was the ongoing digital telecoms upgrade, where the usage of analogue protocols are being replaced by digital. With this switchover creating a c10% failure in emergency calls across the UK, upgrading to digital equipment is essential for the wellbeing of residents using telecare emergency alarm systems.


In 2016 Housing 21 and Appello came together to produce the first digital system in England, Smart Living Solutions (SLS). Housing 21 wanted a fully digital system that improved the lives and wellbeing of their residents. Through innovation and drive to deliver a safe and enriched life for people, Appello produced SLS. SLS reduces connection times to emergency monitoring response services to just 3s compared to nearly 2 mins with existing telecare services. It also enables video/voice calling between residents and staff, video door entry and offers Wi-Fi hotspot for residents to connect to the internet from personal devices.


The first SLS system was installed in a Housing 21 scheme in Durham in 2016 and has since been expanded to be incorporated in 225 of Housing 21’s 450 sites. Housing 21 became the UK’s first housing provider to commit to a digital-only telecare system.


Overview to why we won:

  • Digital innovation.
  • Early digital transformation.
  • Creating the first digital telecare system in the UK.


Challenges overcome during COVID-19

In 2020 Housing 21’s investment in digital technology became of great value. By upgrading to a system which included video/voice calling capabilities residents were able to communicate with one another through video chat. Many found this to be their only form of communication and we saw a 192% increase in the use of video calling.


Housing 21 also implemented staff working from home, to shield or isolate where required. More than 100 employees were working remotely. This was achievable through the digital systems having cloud connectivity, enabling staff to remotely keep track of resident’s wellbeing through the SLS dashboard, AppelloHQ.


Staff also have the ability to update personal and health information remotely, through AppelloSBR, which is used by the emergency services.


Overview to why we won:

  • Reduce social isolation during the pandemic through digital technology.
  • Continue to communicate with residents through video calling.
  • Staff safety.


How embracing data delivers continuous improvements

Through the use of AppelloHQ dashboard, Housing 21 staff have full visibility of the resident’s usage of their telecare equipment. This data enables the team to make informed decisions on the duty of care for the resident, making sure they have the right provision of service and where care packages might need amendment.


Housing 21 have already found that 9 out of 10 residents said they feel safer with their new digital system.


Overview to why we won:

  • Cloud connectivity.
  • Real life data.


Future of digital

Housing 21 have committed to accelerate their digital installation programme and upgrade every property within their portfolio, committing to replace 90% by 2023. By integrating digital technology, it ensures they will be able to meet the needs and expectations of the customer today and in the future.


Appello continue to be at the forefront of digital innovations. Not only has SLS been deployed to 400 developments, but we also have a wider range of digital technology, including dispersed alarms. Providing choice and possibilities for our customers.


Both Housing 21 and ourselves are extremely proud to have been acknowledged for our innovation and dedication towards digital technology and making sure staff and residents have the best equipment to live safer, happier and enriched lives.

Download our SLS brochure

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