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Roundtable gives window into tech's potential
17 June 2020
London First and Bosch recently hosted a virtual roundtable discussion looking at the future of housing and the role technological innovation has to play in it. This was a timely conversation given the increasing importance technology is having in enabling us to work remotely and communicate with our friends and family.
Grainger – a build to rent developer – kicked off the roundtable with a five minute presentation followed by architecture firm Woods Bagot. Their director of property services and compliance Manpreet Dillon explained the effects Covid-19 brought on their business and how technology had increasingly been used to communicate with their residents, ensure seamless service delivery and effectively maintain a sense of community.
Simon Saint, principal at Woods Bagot, then went on to discuss how technology is likely to become even more pivotal to our lives and how space needed to become more flexible and multipurposed than previously.
The discussion then broadened out to cover a range of topics including how people in assisted living can better be supported through technology, such as tele-medicine and remote health monitoring. It was positive to note that such innovations can be both financially-viable without being detrimental to health.
Attendees agreed that working from home and creating home offices remained a challenge particularly for residents who may live in one-bedroom flats or where people do not have a spare bedroom. There was also agreement around the need for a fundamental rethink in terms of how accommodation is planned to support future working and what can also be achieved retrospectively.
Attention then turned to mental wellbeing during the pandemic and how technology can support better mental health through communal information sharing and socially distanced events to help prevent feelings of loneliness.
Overall, we were not only left convinced of how easily technology can be embedded into both new homes and existing homes, but also optimistic how new innovation can create beneficial health interventions.
So, what happens next? We look forward to future discussions with members interrogating the details of our changing future homes. This session reinforced that it is only logical to assume technology will impart as many changes on our lives – whether through homes or how we receive care – as the crisis has forced on us.
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