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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Ideas Lab: From customer portals to digital switchover- how does your digital agenda compare with others?

30 September 2020, Ideas lab

Founded in 2004, Alertacall are experts in digitally enhanced daily contact that confirms health and safety, detects changing needs and improves customer care. Housing Proactive, Alertacall's housing management system, is used by 50 housing providers in the UK. One or more times each day, 365 days a year, older people or those with additional needs are given the choice to establish contact and exchange information digitally using a device like a touchscreen, or by receiving a call from a knowledgeable adviser. The system increases contact with residents for more effective housing management and operates 365 days a year.

For further information please visit their website.

About this idea’s lab and the benefits of attending

By 2025, analogue telephony services will be switched off completely in the UK. Just how prepared is the social housing sector to make what will be a fundamental technological shift?

This free to attend Ideas Lab, hosted by Alertacall looks at some of the key challenges and opportunities presented by investing in digital developments, from increasing resident self-service engagement to looking at alternatives to hard wired alarm systems.

The session will also share the results of an industry-wide survey revealing which developments are seen as the most important. A panel session, featuring a broad range of industry professionals, will discuss the results and what shape the sector is in to capitalise on potential new innovations.

What you will learn:

● Discover how your own digital strategy compares with others in the sector

● Learn about what options need to be considered now in preparation for the 2025 digital switchover

● Gain insight into the innovations that exist to dramatically improve how properties can be managed

About our speakers

The Ideas Lab will be chaired and presented by Martin Cutbill, director of Alertacall.
Martin is a director of Alertacall, experts in digitally enhanced daily contact that confirms health and safety, detects changing needs and improves customer care. Alertacall's Housing Proactive service is in place at over 50 housing providers and local authorities across the UK. Through a combination of specially developed technology and a highly trained team, the Housing Proactive system increases contact with older residents and individuals with higher needs for more effective housing management.

Martin has held several board director and non executive director roles across a range of industries. This includes Hitachi Capital, Furness Building Society, as well as a number of joint venture boards with organisations such as Centrica and Zurich Financial Services. He joined the board of Alertacall in 2013 and has worked closely with a large number of organisations to develop their independent living strategy for those with higher needs.

Pippa Adams, founder and CEO, Prodo 
Pippa is founder & CEO of Prodo, having started the company in 1998, they are the most established digital software agency in the housing space. She has been working with social housing clients for over 17 years, consulting with 50+ housing associations, developing programmes and solutions that deliver tangible benefits to them and their customers. With half of all Prodo's customers coming from outside of the Housing sector, she also has a wealth of commercial experience, advising and delivering programmes for numerous international organisations and as a result she believes that you share many of the same goals and enjoys taking the learnings from one sector and applying them to another to achieve their transformation goals. She is also the author of "Shift! How to make channel shift happen in housing", the only book written on this subject matter from within the sector and on a lighter note she enjoys a good strong cup of tea and downtime with her family and pets.

James Batchelor, founder and CEO, Alertacall
James Batchelor is an expert on technology for the ageing population, speaker about entrepreneurship and advises other senior decision-makers about future technologies. He is Chief Executive and founder of Alertacall, which was started in 2004 and inspired by the changing needs of his own highly independent grandmother. Alertacall are experts in digitally enhanced daily contact that confirms health and safety, detects changing needs and improves customer care. James is also a trustee of The Silver Line, the nationwide charity and freephone helpline for older people founded by Dame Esther Rantzen, and an Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University where he is an “Entrepreneur in Residence” supporting and mentoring students and other business leaders from the region.

Rob Pickering, networking specialist & technology evangelist
Rob has worked at and created several leading technology ventures, where he has developed Internet connectivity, Internet telephony and videoconferencing technologies now used by millions of people. He founded and went on to sell one of the UK's leading Internet telephony companies and now operates a network business, as well as working on artificial intelligence projects 

Michelle Richards, housing & property director, Brunelcare
Michelle has worked within the social housing sector since 2009 for a Bristol Charity, Brunelcare, supporting older people living within sheltered housing and independent living accommodation.
Brunelcare's mission is to help people remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible and make the most of their lives, they hope that technology will play a significant part in achieving their mission as they begin the transformation journey.

How to book

This ideas lab is free to attend, so simply register your place using our dedicated booking form. Please note bookings will close at 12pm on Wednesday 30 September.

When you register you will be sent a booking acknowledgement. This will be followed up with instructions on how to join the ideas lab.

Please do not share the links with your colleagues.

If you have any questions, please contact or call 024 7685 1722

Please note: delegates will be able to ask questions and raise ideas during the session. Please ensure that you are in a quiet, noise-free environment; we recommend using a microphone and speaker headset.

Important information about the virtual platform

1. Preferred device to use is a laptop or desktop computer. Mobile phones and tablets are also supported but hardware needs to be no more than 5 years old and the operating system no more than 3 years old. We recommend booking a test session with our events team is you are using a device other than a laptop or desktop computer, contact us at

2. Please have a headset or headphones with a mic on hand as this should cancel any interference you may experience

3. You will need Google Chrome or Firefox for PCs that use Windows or safari for Mac

4. Only Windows 10 is supported

5. Browsers recommended or mobile phones:
Iphone users- Safari
Android users- Google Chrome or Firefox

Please note: We recommend booking a test run through if you are using a device that is not a laptop or desktop computer, please contact us on 024 7685 1722 or email

6. Check your system's compatibility with the virtual event platform here, as well as your microphone and camera settings before attending -

7. In advance of the event pop on to our test event so you can see what to expect. If this is your first time using Remo, you will need to set up an account. On the day please use the same email address and password to access the event. To join the test event, copy and paste this link into one of the supported browsers -

You can view more detailed information about the technology requirements and what to expect from our virtual platform on our ‘HOW TO’ page.

Run your own Ideas Lab

In the current climate, hosting an ideas lab provides a highly effective platform for you to raise awareness of your offering and deliver information on best practice together with any partners/ customers in an engaging and interactive way.

It is a great way to get in front of your target audience and make contacts with potential customers and partners.

The CIH events team will support you to resource and run the event, so let us take the stress out of delivering your ideas lab, working with you to achieve your specific objectives.

For further information please email or download our media pack.




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