Pioneering technology wows at annual housing conference
Innovative housing and care provider Blackwood is renowned for the unexpected-yet-memorable experiences it has delivered at a number of events.
Now it has been praised for the colourful and hands-on activities showcased at the CIH Scotland Annual Housing Conference 2016 – a first of its kind exhibition to demonstrate how technology can and will shape the future of housing and care.
Fanchea Kelly, chief executive at Blackwood, was also a keynote speaker at the Conference outlining the important role that technology has to play in the industry.
Fanchea said: “This was the first year that the CIH has ever had a housing and care provider hold an exhibition at its conference, so for it to be Blackwood that was chosen to do this was thrilling.
“The event itself was a great success. It highlighted that Blackwood remains at the forefront of innovation across housing and care and cemented our position as leaders in providing these services.
“We always strive to create unique exhibitions and we most definitely did that this year by taking on such an ambitious project, so to receive such positive feedback from key players across the industry was fantastic.
“It is remarkable to see how far we as service providers have progressed - and how the influx of modern technology can benefit this. We have placed a strong focus on introducing tech-care into our facilities in order to improve quality of life and independence.”
Attendees at the event, held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, were greeted by a Basil Fawlty-style character – representing the bad old days – who then ushered visitors inside for a more enlightened experience.
Inside the Blackwood team erected a series of walk-through marquees creating a journey into the future of housing and care for visitors, where its Smart Technology care project, Clever Cogs, took centre stage.
Clever Cogs is a state-of-the-art system of connected touch screen devices which can influence almost everything in a house from the ability to open curtains, to switching on TVs, ordering shopping or planning care and support with family and friends.
Also on show was the Huburbs, a housing computer game app created especially for the conference, which saw attendees compete against each other to manage a virtual housing development and build the best possible living environment for their customers as they made their way through the exhibition.
Among the impressed guests was Margaret Burgess, the Scottish Government’s minister for housing and welfare who, after visiting the exhibition, commented: “Great to hear about your innovations.”
Blackwood, which works across 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas and has its HQ in Edinburgh, has earned a reputation for being at the cutting edge of innovation and for using its technology to bring events to life for visitors.
Its AGMs are renowned for featuring interactive games and eye catching events, including demonstrations of bionic arms and robot exoskeletons. At its AGM last year, the Blackwood team built an interactive home in just 24 hours.
At the latest event, advanced digital care packages, a model house of tomorrow, an interactive video game, a high-tech drone and the Pufferfish video orb were just some of the pioneering technologies and designs on display.
Fanchea added: “This is set to be a huge year for Blackwood as we are launching our highly accessible concept house in Dundee and growing our Clever Cogs technology across Scotland, so to kick it all off by delivering such a successful addition to the conference was very exciting indeed.”
The CIH conference aims to provide housing management staff at all levels with an effective opportunity to share information with each other and to hear about major policy and other developments in the field of housing management. It is a great platform for key industry figures to share and discuss important developments and changes.