The future of heating is here

  • Home tech for all
  • Get control: Can smart tech give you independence?
  • The simple design concept behind Hive Active Heating™ 2

What’s larger than a phone charger, smaller than a bread bin and is revolutionising how we control our homes?

It’s Hive Active Heating™ 2, the beautiful new thermostat designed by Yves Béhar, Founder and Principal Designer of fuseproject, an industrial design studio based in San Francisco. “The future of technology for the home is one that’s intuitive, predictive, and easy to use,” says Béhar.

Slick and sleek: the Hive interface

This clever piece of kit is leading the way in ‘connected homes’ and ‘the Internet of Things’ (IoT). If these collective terms sound like something from Back to The Future, don’t be fooled, they describe the things of everyday life - showers, ovens and lights, but the difference is that they’re all Wi-Fi-enabled and can be controlled remotely from a smartphone or tablet. Your connected oven, for example, could be fired up remotely from your smart phone, so it’s pre-heated for your arrival home. Similarly, a smartphone app controls your Hive Active Heating™ 2 system, allowing you to adjust your heating remotely. If you stay out for an impromptu late night, simply delay the warming of the radiators. Or if you’re going away, set it on ‘holiday mode’ and it’ll have the house toasty for your arrival.

Sound a bit techy or overwhelming? It really isn’t. When you consider that world-famous designers like Béhar (who also designed the Jawbone range of wearable tech) are designing products so beautifully simple that even your granny can work them.

“There’s a large proportion of UK energy customers, who essentially find it too difficult, too cumbersome or simply not even possible to change their heating habit or easily change the temperature, so it’s very important that people are enabled to live more sustainably and to use less energy,” says Béhar.

Hive Active Heating™ 2 is clever and beautiful, and it’s designed to be used by everyone – not just the family gadget geek. Its sleek design is combined with a simple operating system that guides you through a series of questions to set your heating and hot water timings and temperatures. Need to change something? Just do it on the thermostat at home, or from your mobile, tablet or laptop, wherever you are.

You might ask yourself, do I really want that much control? Interestingly, 61% of people who already have the first generation of Hive Active Heating™ 2 said that they were using the product every single day during winter 2014.

“Over 70% of people are saying that they’ve changed their energy usage and actually reduced it,” says Nina Bhatia, Managing Director of Commercial and Connected Homes at British Gas.

British Gas' Nina Bhatia and a collection of colourful Hive options

“This is a very important milestone because it’s putting control in the hands of the customer over some key aspects of their home. In the first instance heating and hot water, but then lighting, motion, and the control of key appliances.”

While Bhatia understands that everyone is different, she knows that many of us want to be more independent.

“I think that some customers want to have control over every aspect of their home, they want certain reset schedules and to reset the logic in the connected home. Other customers are willing to set this up once and allow it to operate independently. Our job, is to give people choice.”

You can even match your Hive thermostat to your home with a range of customisable thermostat frames in 11 colours from the Dulux Feature Wall range. A smart piece of kit then, in both senses of the word.

 

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