Since we launched iHome we have seen the housing sector’s urgency and determination to address digital exclusion increase exponentially and gain momentum to such an extent that it has almost become a “movement”. This has allowed the debate around what kind of digital technology the sector embraces to no longer be about should we or shouldn’t we, but to be more about when and how and more importantly, how much will it cost and how much will it save?
iHome came into being, not due to sector demand, but from our customer insight and current social trends. Since we launched we have been both amazed and reassured by all of our iHome clients who have embraced the principals and the mobile platform that iHome is built on. This was exemplified when iHome released its first big update the “Under Occupancy Calculator”.
Our work as a social housing filmmaker allowed us to really understand the anxiety your customers’ were feeling in the build up to the welfare reform. So to offer the Under Occupancy Calculator as a free update to all iHome clients as part of the annual subscription fee, was not just a gesture of goodwill, but an essential tab that allows tenants to become familiar with and prepare for the massive changes coming their way in the months ahead.
iHome was evolving and all of our clients began to feel the benefits of the flexible and responsive foundation we had created. We knew the next major update to iHome would not be very far away. So when Aldwyck Housing came to us and asked about a location check-in tab for some of their youth accommodation, we were only too keen to share this insight with the iHome community, believing that it would be snapped up as an essential addition to the App. The response we got back was both candid and enlightening. Everybody understood why Aldwyck needed it, but their own customer base simply did not.
Allowing the update to exist only on the Aldwyck Housing iHome App demonstrated that sharing best practice doesn’t mean forcing best practice.
After several updates to the back end system and a discreet overhaul due to Apple’s new iOS7, Raven Housing approached us to see if the addition of a QR code reader could be built into their App. Again we set off on or journey of sharing, only to be met with equal amounts enthusiasm and pragmatism. iHome was becoming self aware and as unique as all its customers are individual to a point now where virtually no two apps are the same.
Throughout iHomes’ life span, never have we been asked about functionality more so than in relation to the ‘Rent’ tab. We understand the importance of allowing tenants the flexibility and control over their finances, so with this in mind we enabled iHome apps across the country to link through the Rent tab to AllPay as well as customers’ own websites to existing web-based payment systems, thus enriching iHome and driving footfall to landlords existing website at the same time.
We relish going forward and hearing where all of you are going take iHome next and seeing the platform grow in usage and strength as the sector becomes not just digitally aware but digitally alive.