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Sutton and Richmond Councils to pilot use of IoT to protect vulnerable people

19/01/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Sutton and Richmond Councils are planning to deploy in-home sensors to improve the safety of vulnerable residents in social housing.

They are preparing to begin a 12-month trial in March under which the sensors will be placed in 100 homes in each of the boroughs, managed by the Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) and Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP).

InnOvaTe logo

The step is being taken with IoT Solutions Group as part of the InnOvaTe project to promote the use of internet of things technology among the South London Partnership of local authorities.

A single battery sensor connected by narrowband IoT will be placed in the kitchen of each home to report on a number of internal environmental factors. The data will be processed and reported to support officers with information about the resident to indicate whether they are likely to be active or if the property has become too cold.

These would flag up that the person could be in need of support and prompt an intervention by the officers or carers rather than waiting for them to get in contact.

The sensors could also provide indications of the risk of fuel poverty.

Councillor Sunita Gordon, lead member for finance and resources at Sutton, said: “We are committed to explore new ways in which we can harness technology to improve the care services delivered within Sutton, while also saving taxpayers’ money.

“We have taken learnings from the previous lockdown and we are excited to work closely with IoT Solutions Group and Sutton Housing Partnership to support the way in which we manage our social care teams, the services that they commission from care homes and providers who give care in residents’ own homes.”

Councillor Robin Brown, Richmond’s lead member for finance and resources, said: “Richmond Council's digital strategy is all about benefiting residents through practical uses of new technology. This project is a great example - improving the care that we offer at the same time as helping our service to be more efficient, keeping costs down.”

Emma Mahy, chief executive officer of IoT Solutions Group, said the pilot could lead to a nationwide roll out of the sensors.

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