Staying cool with Agile

Housing Technology presentation DF with hot weather

You may remember an earlier post about the environmental sensors we have installed in one of our sheltered housing developments. We had intended these sensors to measure high humidity and unusually low temperatures, in order to prevent the development of black mould, increased vulnerability to infections and also to detect early signs of fuel poverty.

However, elderly and vulnerable residents are also at risk when it gets really hot – just as it did during the July heatwave, which now seems like an increasingly distant memory! Towards the end of July, the system which captures the sensor data showed that a small number of flats were experiencing temperatures which never dropped below 27°C, even at night – very uncomfortable and potentially hazardous. We were able to alert the scheme manager, who immediately visited the affected residents and was able to offer advice and support for keeping cool.

Of course, the beauty of the Agile Method is that we are able to respond quickly to new requirements. In collaboration with the integration team in IT&D, we re-prioritised our work for the next sprint, creating a new business rule on our integration platform, Dell Boomi. In future, when temperatures exceed a certain threshold over an extended period, this will automatically create a task in our case management system, iCasework, and assign it to the relevant care worker. We have also successfully tested this approach using the API provided by the GOV.UK Notify service, which will generate SMS and emails containing the information needed by the care worker.

It’s early days yet as we understand better what our new technology can do, but it’s looking very promising.

Housing Technology 2018

Sharon Davies (from Housing) and I were speakers recently at the Housing Technology 2018 conference in Oxford (#housingtech2018).

 

 

We were talking about the council’s pilot project for Internet of Things (IoT) devices in social housing.  We will be able to assess the effects of building improvement works by measuring temperature and humidity levels before, during and after the work.

We also touched upon event-driven architecture (where business rules in our integration platform can trigger tasks, cases or alerts), and a forthcoming mobile app for those residents taking part in the pilot. The app will allow residents to see temperature and humidity levels inside and outside their flats.

Thank you to our lovely audience, who chose to come and see us – there were many other options available during our timeslot – and asked some great questions.

I’ve added a video of our slides – please do get in touch with me if you have any more questions about the project. You can email me at neil.cholerton@brighton-hove.gov.uk .

Sensors and sensibility

Hello, my name is Neil and I’m an enterprise architect at Digital First. Part of my role is to come up with new ways for the council to meet its business and technology objectives.

I’m currently working with the Housing department to see how Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology can benefit some of our social housing tenants.

Over 60s who live in colder temperatures during winter months, or in homes with black mould caused by high humidity, are more vulnerable to infection, respiratory illnesses and chronic fatigue.

To help them, we are running an exciting pilot scheme in one of our sheltered housing developments.

Firstly, we plan to put environmental sensors inside and outside our residents’ homes before, during and after building work so that we can measure the results of the work and improve our approach to future building work. The sensors will measure humidity and temperature, and connect to a private, secure low-power radio (LoRaWAN) network via a gateway.

The Digital First development team will create a mobile app for residents to monitor current and past temperatures and humidity outside and inside their homes.

Data captured by the gateway could send an alert to council staff – for example, unusually low temperatures over a long period could be an early sign of fuel poverty.

Recently we also started working with Everynet, a local community group set up to create a free, public IoT network. The group has some very innovative ideas, which I will write more about in this blog very soon.