The Home Housing Association is saving £33,000 a year as a result of its neighbourhood wardens being wirelessly connected to business applications in the field.
The housing association manages 46,000 properties across the UK, and says it can save 30 man-hours every week by allowing its wardens – who monitor and report anti-social behaviour and deal with maintenance requests – to use an Internet-based management system in the field.
Home Housing went to technology integrator Lynx who developed a Microsoft .NET reporting system called ‘SCOUT’, which is a reporting tool with simple drop-down menus for users to enter details of their visits to properties.
Reports are accessed via web pages and action can be taken immediately – notifying the council or police, for instance, of anti-social behaviour, including vandalism.
The system has replaced a paper-based process as a result of the wardens using XDA PDAs (personal digital assistants) to process the information. These are connected over the O2 GPRS (general packet radio service) mobile network to Home’s Microsoft Mobile Information Server at its headquarters. Information garnered by the wardens is then processed and stored in Home’s back office IT systems.
Gary Short, Home’s systems consultant, says the organisation was now looking to extend the mobile solution to other parts of its business.
This article was part of Computer Weekly's enterprise mobile business channel, sponsored by Nokia
This was first published in June 2004