When the words “housing conference” come up the first images that pop into your head might not necessarily be; Basil Fawlty, video games, a magician, a high-tech drone, an electric bike, a 3D printer, a model house of tomorrow and a state of the art digital care package, but that’s exactly what Blackwood incorporated into its exhibit at the CIH Scotland 2016 conference this week.
Taking place in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Blackwood set about creating a journey into the future of housing and care for visitors, looking not only at how Blackwood is using innovation, but demonstrating the fantastic possibilities yet to be fully explored.
The journey took you through a series of enormous tents exhibiting how Blackwood helps people live life to the full. Highlighting the contrast between old ways and the future, a fully-fledged Basil Fawlty “greeted” delegates at the door before leading you into the main exhibit where an introduction to Clever Cogs awaited.
Whether through digital technology to enable a severely disabled person to video call their loved ones, or with a beautiful, affordable and accessible home to provide someone with the dream living environment, or any of the other technologies that were on display, Blackwood’s message at the conference - “The Future Is Now” - resonated everywhere you looked.
Blackwood’s Stratgic Development Director Simon Fitzpatrick spoke of the CIH conference saying:
Everyone at Blackwood felt we were able to contribute to an excellent event by the CIH and cement our position as leaders in providing integrated housing and care services. Also we had an amazing time! The feedback ranged from 'the best exhibition I've ever seen at a conference' to 'you have really challenged how we should be implementing innovation and technology in our organisation', which is fantastic.
We would also like to thank our sponsors - the SFHA, Mitie Property Services and CCG Scotland for their support.
And of course congratulations to our own Emma Birnie who topped the Huburbs leader board!”
The Huburbs, a video game created especially for the conference, required the player to manage their housing development, by building homes, managing properties, rents and building the best possible living environment for their customers. All the people who played could hardly put it down as it became fascinatingly addictive and players got increasingly competitive, wanting to see their name on the leader board.
As they explored their way through the Blackwood experience, visitors would eventually encounter the Pufferfish (not an actual fish)! This was in fact a globe-like display showing the build-up of the Blackwood Concept house. Like magic, when you touched it, the words “The Future is Now” appeared in a mist of pink and green inside the mystic looking ball.
“Great to hear about your innovations” tweeted Scottish Government’s Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess. Ms Burgess took time out from her busy schedule to visit the Blackwood exhibit and was quick to tweet her appreciation of Blackwood’s innovative approach to housing and care.
Regarding its role in the conference, Blackwood’s Head of Marketing Colleen Robertson said:
“The positive feedback was overwhelming and made all the hard work and panic worth it! Everything from our Clever Cogs care system, our neighbourhood design gaming app The Huburbs, the augmented reality Blippar wall to the hypnotising Pufferfish Sphere wowed the crowd.
It’s wonderful to see how the third sector is really embracing a new way of engaging and we are so happy that we were able to deliver a successful addition to the conference.
Now just to rest our weary feet for a bit until we start planning for the next event!”
Check out some more stories of innovation from around Blackwood...
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