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Tue August 11 2020

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Augmented reality enables remote repairs during lockdown

8 Apr Trades operatives working for Fife-based Kingdom Housing Association are using an augmented reality system to help tenants carry out minor repairs without setting foot in the homes.

Kingdom introduced augmented reality just before the coronavirus lockdown, little knowing that it would become so useful during this time.

The technology allows a trades operative to be virtually present in a tenant’s home, to see the issue in real time using video technology on a mobile phone or tablet, and to offer support and advice by having their hand superimposed on the scene in the tenant’s home.

Many simple repairs and problems can be fixed remotely in this way, said Kingdom, from fixing a door to connecting a washing machine, and all the time maintaining public health guidance on social distancing.

Kingdom believes that it one of the first times this kind of technology has been used by a housing association in the UK. The technology has been introduced through a partnership between housing consultancy DtL Creative and Swedish-based XMReality.

Gary Haldane, interim digital director at Kingdom Housing Association said: “This technology has the potential to be a game-changer. I knew when I first saw it that it would prove very useful. I just hadn’t realised how useful until we went into lockdown and operatives were unable to attend routine repairs because of isolation.

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“Our tenants have been amazed at how simple it is to use and we’ve already had really positive feedback from tenants who have used the service. Our main priority during the coronavirus pandemic remains the health and wellbeing of our tenants and staff. Using augmented reality we’re not only able to deliver the level of service our customers expect in a highly efficient manner, but we’re also able to do our best to minimise the transmission of the virus too.”

Dave Loudon, founder of DtL Creative, said: “When the coronavirus hit a few weeks ago, we decided to help housing associations as much as we could. We’re working with several tech companies to offer free support to help them manage.

“The remote guidance from XMReality is amazing and is just one of many innovations we’re offering to housing associations to help during this difficult time.

“As a company we want to ensure technology and innovation is at the forefront of thinking in housing, so we’re pleased to be working with Kingdom who are embracing technology to improve tenants’ lives.”

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