Smart street furniture app features on second social housing framework for innovations

Man using Hello Lamp Post, part of a social housing framework
Move over tree-hugging: start chatting to street furniture with Hello Lamp Post (Image: Jack Kirwin -JK Photography)
An app that allows residents to ‘chat’ with smart street furniture is among the 20 innovations to secure a slot on the second Social Housing Emerging Disruptors (SHED) framework.

The framework, worth up to £100m over three years, helps social landlords to compliantly procure non-traditional, innovative solutions from micro-businesses and SMEs. Launched by Procurement for Housing (PfH), this second framework was developed with the Proptech Innovation Network. The first SHED framework launched in January 2022.

Many of the chosen suppliers provide services that empower and engage tenants, in line with new tenant satisfaction standards that come into effect from April.

They include Hello Lamp Post, an interactive text messaging service that gathers views on the local environment by asking residents to chat with street furniture. Another is Alertacall, a contact system that creates digital communities in sheltered and supported housing, so tenants feel safe and connected.

A number of SMEs on the framework offer new ways to retrofit and repair homes.

Ambue’s 3D building model helps social landlords to understand sustainability, energy efficiency and heat loss improvement opportunities. Bays Consulting’s dashboard provides housing organisations with stock condition predictions related to home hazards and health risks. And PH Jones will enable social landlords to create virtual power plants of the future from the domestic batteries and renewable energy solutions they install in their homes, so they can provide stored energy during periods of peak demand.

Several suppliers also provide cost-of-living crisis support. Wonde’s Evouchers is an online system that helps housing organisations to distribute food and retail vouchers to residents. GoGreen, meanwhile, enables tenants to find and claim income and energy efficiency support they are eligible for.

More innovations

Among the other innovations on the framework are:

SHED was set up by PfH to give housing providers a fresh perspective on traditional topics. The framework has also been designed to help housing associations and local authorities buy compliantly from start-ups, something that has been difficult in the past due to bureaucratic public sector regulations.

Jenny Danson, director of the Proptech Innovation Network, said: “It can take a huge amount of effort to bring innovation into social housing. Suppliers and housing providers have to jump through hoops to satisfy procurement regulations – it involves lots of effort and cost. That’s why we co-developed the SHED. It gives social landlords a route to compliantly procure solutions quicker and cheaper. Suppliers have the certainty of being on the framework for three years and receive support to break into the sector.”

Neil Butters, head of procurement at PfH, said: “Social landlords are dealing with rising prices, a 7% rent cap and cost-of-living crisis, alongside urgent targets on building safety, net zero and development. They desperately need brand new ideas to tackle these challenges. The SHED framework is a safe space to try out these ideas without complex procurement rules, legal challenges or lengthy tender documents getting in the way.”

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