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Whitehall funding prize targets social home monitoring innovation

Leeds City Council proposal to support the development of new technologies to monitor conditions such as humidity and temperature is accepted as part of £20m Whitehall innovation programme

Individual funding grants of up to £50,000 will be set outside for developing private sector prototypes that can monitor a range of conditions that can impact resident health and safety in social housing such as heat and humidity.

Money will potentially be provided as part of the government’s £20m GovTech Catalyst challenges programme that aims to support companies to tackle key public sector challenges.

One of the focuses to be accepted for the latest round of funding was suggested by Leeds City Council to look at monitoring social properties to detect and prevent conditions that may impact quality of living.

A spokesperson for the council told H&V News that it hoped to see new approaches to monitoring its housing stock and assist residents that may be vulnerable to potential longer-term health issues.

The funding is intended to support private sector groups through a procurement process to try and determine solutions to help monitor environmental variables in homes that could include air temperature and humidity as well as behavioural factors “linked to residents that may need support.”

The spokesperson added, “The use of sensors and AI learning provides the opportunity to move towards preventative care and maintenance models.”

“For example, it could offer a means to reassure carers and family members of a resident by allowing them to be notified of any issues when they are not able to be present or to alert maintenance teams if there’s an issue with the heating before it breaks down.”

The focus on new methods to monitor social housing performance was unveiled earlier this month by government minister Oliver Dowden during the Government ICT conference.

Mr Dowden said that the challenges chosen to receive funding focused on topics such as monitoring social homes and the potential use of autonomous vehicles with the aim to try and improve lives through technology.

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