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The connected home: 5 steps to a connected home with Hive [updated December]

HIVE Connected Home 2

Hive fast tracks the future with connected home tech for all

The truly connected home is always said to be just around the corner. As a child I remember watching the UK TV programme Tomorrow’s World, in which there was no end of future-looking applications unveiled on a regular basis, showing how we’d all be controlling our various appliances from handheld devices or a central control panel. Of course, back then there was no such thing as smartphones. They also claimed we’d all have our own personal hovercraft – a prediction that certainly hasn’t come true…

In today’s world, there are all manner of connected gadgets and apps that do everything from opening garage doors remotely, turning on our heating or aircon while away from home, monitoring via web-connected cameras, and much more.

One of the most active companies in this space is Hive, which earlier this year unveiled a whole suite of products aimed at making it easier to get everything connected.

Update (December): Hive tell us that Hive Active Heating™ Multizone is now available to purchase – see more details at the end of this article…

Here’s a quick summary of some of Hive’s products:

• Hive Active Heating™ 2, a range of new app features and a family of complementary products, cementing its place as the UK’s leading connected home technology provider

• Hive Active Heating™ 2 includes a new industrially designed thermostat by design entrepreneur Yves Béhar, featuring market-leading usability and an intuitive LED display with an on-screen guide

• Hive Active Plugs™, Hive Motion Sensors™, Hive Window and Door Sensors™ and Hive Active Lights™ are built on the Hive Honeycomb platform, and will integrate with the Hive app to give people new ways to control their homes

• Existing Hive Active Heating™ customers will get a range of new app features, including heating boost and multi-zonal control

HIVE Connected Home 4
Kassir Hussain, Director of British Gas Connected Homes.

Hive is a British Gas innovation, which recently transformed a house in London into a connected home to unveil an entire family of complementary products: its next generation Hive Active Heating smart thermostat with a range of new features; and a range of complementary products, designed to give people new ways to control their homes – Hive Active Plugs, Hive Motion Sensors, Hive Window and Door Sensors and Hive Active Lights.

Hive Active Heating launched in 2013 to enable people to control their heating and hot water from their mobile, tablet or laptop. Over 200,000 people are already using the award-winning product, which comes with installation by one of British Gas’ 10,000 engineers included.

Hive Active Heating™ 2 and new features

Hive Active Heating 2 includes an industrially redesigned thermostat by design entrepreneur Yves Béhar. It features market-leading usability and an intuitive LED display with an on-screen guide and new features.

HIVE Connected Home 1

Existing Hive Active Heating customers will automatically benefit from a range of new features within an updated version of the app and online dashboard, while customers buying Hive Active Heating 2 can access them on the new thermostat as well. The features include:

  • Heating boost for up to six hours
  • More heating and hot water schedule flexibility
  • A holiday mode setting
  • Plumbed Mulitzone compatibility

Hive has also introduced a range of coloured thermostat frames in popular Dulux colours to surround the mirrored thermostat, allowing people to customise the thermostat to fit any room and interior style. The frames will be available to purchase on hivehome.com.

Family of complementary products

Hive has also introduced a family of complementary products to give people new ways to control their home. Available now, the products integrate into the Hive app. Designed to disappear into the home, the products will give people control, reassurance and peace of mind when they need it.

HIVE Connected Home 3

Hive Active Plugs let you control appliances remotely via the Hive app, allowing you to switch devices on and off from wherever you are, and set schedules. So when you’ve left home in a hurry, you can check you remembered to switch your hair straighteners or iron off.

Hive Motion Sensors enable you to detect motion in your home when you’re not there. For those times when your home’s empty, like when you’re off on holiday, you’ll get an alert if motion’s picked up.

Hive Window and Door Sensors are wireless contact sensors which can be fitted to windows and doors and will notify you if they are open or closed. These mean you can check that you’ve shut everything after you’ve left home, like when you’re in a cab headed for the airport.

Hive Active Lights enable you to turn lights on or off in your home from wherever you are, ideal for giving the impression of an occupied home when you’re not there.

Kassir Hussain, Director of British Gas Connected Homes, said about the products: “In addition to the beautifully redesigned Hive Active Heating thermostat, we’re bringing a range of new features for existing and new customers and we’ve created a family of connected home products that are easy to use, accessible for everyone, and genuinely make life easier. We’re the only UK provider to deliver the complete connected home end-to-end experience – from product creation to delivery, installation and on-going support. We’re excited to be expanding our portfolio and making the connected home at last a reality for everyone.

“This is only the beginning. At Hive we’re going to keep listening to our customers and giving them new and improved ways to have the control they want and deserve in their homes. We’ll keep innovating just as British Gas has over the last 200 years. Expect a number of further announcements over the coming months.”

Speaking about the next generation Hive Active Heating, Yves Béhar, Founder and Principal Designer of Fuseproject, said: “The design goal for the next generation Hive Active Heating was to make a product that is familiar and intuitive in its use, but also reflects the modern British home. We created a classically square thermostat with a dial, but gave it a mirrored surface which makes the device resemble a small mirror. In this way, the thermostat not only blends into the home discreetly, but it literally reflects its environment.”

Update (3rd December):

Hive Multizone – the latest Hive Active Heating product to be released – is now available for purchase.

Hive Multizone enables Hive Active Heating customers to control up to three existing heating zones – such as upstairs and downstairs – through the award-winning Hive app.

To use Hive Multizone, customers need to have separate plumbed heating zones in their home, each with its own Hive thermostat and receiver. Hive Multizone works with wet central heating systems including wet underfloor systems, but not with electric systems.

Kassir Hussain, Director of Connected Homes at British Gas, said: “For people with up to three existing heating zones in their home we can now help them be more energy efficient and save on their heating bills. It’s been one of our top requests from customers so we’re pleased to be bringing them more ways to have the control they want for their homes”.

Existing Hive Active Heating customers

Existing customers can upgrade to Hive Multizone from today (Monday 23rd November). Where Hive Active Heating is already installed, the Hive Multizone upgrade kit will be available for £99 per zone until the end of the year (including installation by a British Gas engineer). From 1st January, the first additional zone will be £179 to upgrade and an additional zone can be purchased for £99.

New Hive customers

Hive Active Heating is available to buy for £249 including installation with extra zones at the time of purchase an additional £99 each.

Hive Multizone is available at hivehome.com, britishgas.co.uk and from selected retailers.

You can also visit hivehome.com to find out more.

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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