In March 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic struck hard, confining millions to their homes. Kingdom Housing Association (KHA) in Scotland had already chosen XMReality remote assistance solution before the crisis. When lockdown came, it soon became clear what a far-sighted decision it was as tenants could carry out urgent repairs simply and swiftly in their homes without inviting infection in. KHA Interim Digital Director Gary Haldane explains.
Making repairs through augmented reality and visual assistant tools
How does a Housing Association with over 4000 properties help tenants make repairs to their homes when an international pandemic means external service technicians aren’t even allowed in? At the end of March 2020, strict social distancing measures came into force in the UK. Citizens were only allowed out of their homes for one hour a day, told to keep a distance of two meters between themselves, and told to avoid small gatherings or even friends and family.
People were instead encouraged to “keep in touch using remote technology”, and for Scotland’s Kingdom Housing Association (KHA) that was their key solution. KHA had already started using XMReality, a visual assistance toll, just before the lockdown came in place. The company is passionate about digital technology as a key way of enabling tenants to be more independent and active, which was why KHA chose to implement XMReality before the crisis. “I knew when I first saw XMReality that it would prove very useful,” says Gary Haldane. “I didn’t realize how useful until we went into lockdown.”
XMReality - a key solution
With XMReality, KHA’s trades operatives, or service technicians, can be present to guide tenants in fixing problems, in real-time, in their own homes, without even having to step foot inside the property. Using video and augmented reality technology on a standard mobile or tablet, the technician can identify faults and then demonstrate how to fix them on the shared screen with their own hands. The tenant sees the technician’s hands in their home, showing them step-by-step how to fix the problem, whether fixing a door, locating a leak, or connecting a washing machine.
A wide range of simple but often high-impact repairs can be fixed remotely this way, all whilst maintaining public health guidelines on social distancing.
Gary Haldane: “Our tenants have been amazed at how simple it is to use, and we’ve already had positive feedback from tenants who have used the service. Our main priority during the coronavirus pandemic remains our tenants' and staff's health and wellbeing. Using this means we’re not only able to deliver the level of service our customers expect in a highly efficient manner, but we’re also able to do our best to minimize the transmission of coronavirus too. This technology has the potential to be a game changer..."
Remote video support enables continuous improvement and effectiveness.
As the parent company of the Kingdom Group, Kingdom Housing Association serves a rich, diverse range of tenants and homeowners, and has an impressive service record. All digital solutions need to contribute to a high-quality service environment actively. This is one of the first times a housing association in the UK has used an augmented reality-based solution like XMReality.
KHA is a passionate champion of digital services, systems, and solutions. Haldane sees digital technology as a vital tool to serve tenants better and help them become more independent and active: “Ensuring we have effective digital systems makes a difference in continuous improvement, effectiveness and efficiencies.”
XMReality’s solution was introduced in KHA through a partnership between XMReality and UK housing technology consultancy DtL Creative. Dave Loudon, Founder of DtL Creative: “When the coronavirus hit we decided to help housing associations as much as possible. We’re working with several tech companies to offer free support to help them manage. The remote video guidance tool from XMReality is amazing and is just one of many innovations we’re offering to housing associations to help during this difficult time. As a company we want to ensure technology and innovation is at the forefront of thinking in housing, so we’re pleased to be working with the Kingdom Housing Association who is embracing technology to improve tenants’ lives.”