First look: TSG & Microsoft hackathon and innovation in social housing

Innovation in housing

Innovation is a term which is bandied about so frequently, it’s almost lost meaning. We all know what innovation is – it’s new ways of working that are an improvement on older methods. But what a lot of people can forget is that innovation should have a purpose; why would you innovate for the sake of innovating?

TSG is committed to innovation, and we’re demonstrating this by investing in emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT). But, as I mentioned, innovation requires a meaning; an end goal. That’s why we’re committed to use cases for these technologies that add real, measurable value for our customers.

We hear from our customers that they see the opportunities for artificial intelligence and machine learning, but the challenge lies in finding this cost-effective use case that can deliver tangible benefits to the business. This is particularly challenging in the social housing sector, as housing associations try to find the balance between innovation and compliance.

The hackathon

Hack was a partner initiative offered to TSG by Microsoft because we are a Gold-certified partner. Microsoft is committed to investing in its innovative partners, providing us with insights and enabling us to build our own IP solutions which will delight our customers, address the specific challenges they face and help them achieve their strategic business goals.

I approached Microsoft about our work on developing our own IP solutions using Microsoft products, and we were invited to take part in the hackathon. We’re the first Microsoft partner to take part in a hackathon for housing association solutions, as well as the first partner to include our own valued customers in the process!

Our deep partner relationship with Microsoft means that we have access to preview features and exclusive hacks to define and develop our bright ideas into simple, lovable and complete solutions for our customers and, in turn, their customers.

So last week we headed to Microsoft along with some of our most valued housing association customers to take part in a ‘hackathon’; a strategic day where we used a number of exciting technologies, including the aforementioned and bots, to create use cases for customers in the housing sector.

The session was truly unique, as it brought together our customers and our partner to explore the challenges faced by housing associations and build solutions to address those challenges. We collaborated in teams with customers, TSG developers and Microsoft architects to determine how these pain points could be reduced using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Of course, I’m remaining tight-lipped about our results for now as we work to develop them into complete customer solutions, but watch this space – the future is very bright.

Tangible results with technology

Technology is magical. It is one of the few changing constants in our world, which can make knowing where to start feel quite overwhelming. It can also quickly become expensive if you start down the wrong path. That’s why TSG takes a pragmatic approach to emerging technology; we start with our customers and their challenges, the things that keep them awake at night, then we are creative about how we can apply the technology practically with the goal that it will add measurable value.

We’ve got some fantastic TSG IP solutions in the pipeline as well as some great existing solutions we created using partner products – for example, TSG Traveller, which is used by every major train operating company in England.

Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you with your business challenges.