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City of York deploys sensor technology to slash maintenance costs

City of York Council is using cutting-edge sensor technology to maintain its properties and improve tenant health.

The council is one of the first authorities in the UK to adopt the solution which helps to slash maintenance bills by detecting issues such as damp, fuel poverty and abandoned properties.

The technology has been developed by North Wales company Pinacl Solutions.

Mark Lowe, Pinacl’s business development director, said: “Social housing providers are responsible for managing tens of thousands of properties, often with extremely small teams.

“Poor property conditions cause serious problems for the property and, more importantly, tenant health if they are not addressed quickly.

“It costs in the region of £25,000 to fully refit the average social housing property, a cost that our technology helps to avoid.

“We know from our research that around one in ten properties have an urgent need of intervention which would require renovation running into tens of thousands of pounds if not detected early on and acted upon.”

The sensors give social housing providers a real-time insight into the health of each of their properties. Alerts can be automatically generated if problems arise or are predicted to, ensuring that corrective action is taken to keep property and tenant healthy. Up to four sensors will be installed in homes, typically covering the bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Pinacl provides a full end-to-end solution from sensor, Internet of Things (IoT) network to application dashboard. The sensors can monitor humidity, temperature, Co2 and movement and are able to provide hourly readings on to the dashboard.

Simon Donnelly, ICT digital manager at City of York Council, said: “Given our commitment to help create a truly Smart City – built on York’s world-class infrastructure – Pinacl’s solution immediately caught our eye as a hugely scalable yet relatively low-cost way to really deliver on the enormous potential of IoT.

“By generating city-scale intelligence across many of our key assets, it will enable us to realise significant efficiencies through early intervention and more targeted resourcing, in turn creating better outcomes for our customers.”

Mark added: “The IoT is a current technology buzzword but what we have done is develop a solution to a long-term and hugely expensive challenge facing social housing providers.

“We have made good progress in the housing sector since launching the product and we are now looking at further opportunities in areas such as domiciliary care.”

Pinacl Solution is headquartered in St Asaph, North Wales, but works across the UK providing public and private sector organisations with a range of innovative digital transformation solutions. The company is 35 years old and employs almost 50 staff.


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