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Reshaping housing with AI: exploring the impact of Copilot and generative AI on housing associations
Blog //06-12-2023

Reshaping housing with AI: exploring the impact of Copilot and generative AI on housing associations

by OneAdvanced PR, Author

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword in the housing industry for a few years now, and the technology is finally maturing enough to be take on a critical role in reshaping the sector. As housing associations face a range of challenges across the UK, most notably in terms of access to affordable housing, IT leaders need to evaluate how they can leverage technology to overcome obstacles and deliver better services. The rise of generative AI (gen AI), in particular, has been making waves in the housing industry, with its ability to do more than just automate processes. In this blog, we'll explore how gen AI can benefit housing associations, the challenges associated with this emerging technology, and what IT leaders in housing associations need to know before implementing it into their workflows.

As housing associations reshape their organisations and deliver new services that meet shifting expectations among tenants, CIOs and IT leaders have to find new ways of doing things. They're facing a plethora of challenges, including tight budgets, legacy processes, and lack of skilled staff, and they must maintain high security standards that keep the sensitive information of tenants confidential. To enable their organisations to be as efficient and effective as possible, they need to utilise the latest technologies, including AI.

The rise of generative AI

Generative AI is an exciting and rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence that is currently one of the most talked-about trends. It involves using algorithms and models to create new and original content such as text, images, audio, and more. Gen AI focuses on the creation of new data by using existing data sets as a foundation. It enables machines to recognise patterns and generate all-new datasets to produce outputs that add value to the enterprise. This technology has captured the interest of researchers, developers, and businesses due to its potential across various industries.

With AI being fully embraced by companies worldwide, it’s no wonder that the tech giants are starting to integrate it into their most popular and powerful enterprise tools and applications. Microsoft is at the forefront of this and has made significant investments in this area, launching Copilot. This AI-powered assistant incorporated into the Microsoft productivity suite allows users to seamlessly leverage the power of gen AI to automate repetitive tasks, generate content, and streamline workflows.

As gen AI continues to advance, it holds immense potential for revolutionising industries and transforming the way people interact with technology, opening up new avenues for creativity, productivity, and innovation. By using generative AI, housing association teams can automate complex workflows and processes, reduce costs and speed up decision-making processes, which can ultimately lead to better outcomes for tenants.

Use cases for housing associations

Gen AI holds great potential for IT leaders in housing associations to overcome challenges and embrace new opportunities. Examples include:

Automating repetitive tasks: IT leaders can use generative AI algorithms to automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry, report generation, and document processing. This frees up valuable time for IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives and reduces the risk of human error.

Enhancing maintenance and repair processes: gen AI can be applied to analyse maintenance and repair data to identify patterns and predict equipment failures. By proactively addressing maintenance needs, housing associations can minimise downtime, optimise resource allocation, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Streamlining tenant support: AI-powered chatbots can be deployed to handle tenant inquiries and support requests. These chatbots can understand natural language queries, provide accurate responses, and escalate complex issues to human operators when necessary. This not only improves response times but also reduces the workload on support teams.

Personalising tenant experiences: gen AI algorithms can analyse tenant data, preferences, and feedback to create personalised recommendations for services, amenities, and community events. By tailoring offerings to individual tenant needs, housing associations can foster stronger relationships and enhance tenant satisfaction.

Optimising resource allocation: gen AI can analyse historical data and factors like occupancy rates, energy usage, and maintenance schedules to optimise resource allocation. This helps housing associations make informed decisions regarding water and energy consumption, staffing levels, and maintenance schedules, leading to cost savings and sustainability.

Enhancing security: by leveraging gen AI, housing associations can strengthen cyber security measures by implementing advanced threat detection algorithms. AI models can analyse data patterns, detect anomalies, and identify potential security breaches or fraudulent activities, ensuring the protection of sensitive tenant information.

Microsoft Copilot can also help IT users become more efficient on a daily basis, by infusing AI technology with everyday programmes such as Word, Outlook, and Excel to truly help those applications reach their full power.

Challenges of generative AI

Although there are clear opportunities, it must be approached with caution. While gen AI holds immense potential, it also presents notable challenges and risks. One major concern is the risk of generating misleading or false information, known as hallucination. Privacy is another significant issue, as AI models could unintentionally reveal sensitive information from the training data. There's also the risk of copyright infringement, and the potential for biased content, reflecting biases in the training data. There are also ethical considerations around the use of AI-generated content, including questions of authorship and authenticity. These challenges highlight the need for careful management, ethical guidelines, and regulatory oversight in the deployment of generative AI technologies.

Next steps

While generative AI is no silver bullet, the opportunities for housing associations are vast. As AI technologies mature, and humans and machines collaborate effectively, there's little doubt that good things will happen. IT leaders and CIOs in housing associations should evaluate generative AI and Copilot, gain deep insights into the technology, and keep a keen eye on its evolution. Ultimately they can use this technology to significantly improve services and make the most of resources. Housing associations that want to enhance their workflows and deliver high-quality, affordable housing must embrace innovative technologies like generative AI and Copilot to lead the way.

If you’re looking for new ways to implement AI into your business whilst ensuring that your cyber security strategy is completely futureproof, get in touch with us today. Our experts will be able to help you ensure that your business is able to mitigate the risks and issues of an AI-based world and create a strategy that’s best for your business specifically.

Want to learn more? Watch our on-demand webinar ‘ChatGPT & Generative AI, the revolution begins’ where experts discuss the latest developments in generative AI technology, showcase applications and use cases, and highlight key areas to focus on when preparing for its opportunities and challenges. Or, discover our IT Services for Housing Associations.

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