British Gas introduces Hive Active Heating, enables remote heating control

Home automation isn't just the domain of hackers, Kickstarter projects and startups anymore -- now utilities companies are getting in on the action, too. British Gas has recently announced Hive Active Control Heating, its platform for automated, scheduled and remote utility control. Opting into the program costs £199 and includes a wireless thermostat with a receiver and hub, all of which can be controlled by a companion app (or an online dashboard).

The system doesn't have the learning capabilities of the synonymously named Nest, but users can manage temperature on the go, create scheduled heating events by weekday or hour and manage hot water temperate and scheduling independent of thermostat control. Hive is available for pre-order now, though installations won't begin until late October. In the meantime, the company has offered a preview of the system's app on the project's website (source) and has issued a few flowery statements about the Internet of things (after the break).

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British Gas launches new brand, Hive, by British Gas, to provide products and services that help customers control their homes

First product launched, Hive Active Heating™, enables you to control heating and hot water remotely
Brand and product launched with debate on 'The internet of things within our four walls'

British Gas has unveiled a new brand − Hive, by British Gas − dedicated to internet-enabled technology products and services that give people greater flexibility and control of their energy use.

Hive, by British Gas has launched its first product: Hive Active Heating™. Combining previous heating innovation from British Gas with a range of new features, Hive Active Heating™ is a service that lets people control their heating and hot water remotely from a smartphone, tablet, SMS, or via a website. Hive Active Heating™ will help put people in control of their energy use and could save households up to £150 a year[1] by allowing them to only heat their homes and water when they need to.

Hive, by British Gas is being led by Managing Director of British Gas Connected Homes, Nina Bhatia, who also heads up British Gas' Strategic Development; Andrew Brem, Managing Director Product & Commercial, whose previous positions include MD of Multichannel Ecommerce and Services at Carphone Warehouse; and Kassir Hussain, Director of Technology, whose previous experience includes technology innovation at BSkyB.

Nina Bhatia, Managing Director British Gas Connected Homes, Strategy and M&A, said:

"With almost 22 million households in the UK connected to the internet, and mobile phone use almost universal among adults[2], we are increasingly relying on technology to manage everyday activities from banking, to parking, to grocery shopping. However, at the core of our homes and in the way we use energy, there has been limited innovation since the mass adoption of central heating in the 1970s. By combining the heritage of British Gas with a new brand, Hive, by British Gas, we will revolutionise the way we manage our homes, making the connected home – where devices communicate with people or each other via the internet – a reality.

"I am excited about the launch of our new product, Hive Active Heating™, because it puts control of heating and hot water firmly in the hands of our customers. No one is better placed to do this than British Gas. We can join the dots between the supply of energy, insight into consumption and the means to control it with a British Gas-installed product and a beautiful, modern, intuitive app."

The brand and product unveil took place today in London at the incubator space, Hub Westminster. It brought together some of the leading experts in the home innovation sector as well as a panel of thought leaders including Ben Southworth, Former Deputy CEO of Tech City; Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder of Decoded; and Daniel Nye Griffiths, Contributing Editor of Wired and Forbes; to debate the challenges and opportunities of 'The internet of things within our four walls.'

Ben Southworth, who chaired the panel debate at the launch of Hive, by British Gas, said:

"The internet of things is set to transform our lives in years to come and one place we'll really feel its impact is within the home. It's great that the likes of Hive, by British Gas, is bringing experts together to debate the connected home, looking at how they might work with smaller companies and start-ups to create new, exciting products. I'm personally excited to see what great minds in this sector come up with and can't wait for the day that my washing machine knows my clothes need cleaning and my fridge does the shopping for me!"

To find out more about Hive, by British Gas and to pre-register for Hive Active Heating™ which will be available for installation from late October, visit www.hivehome.com.

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British Gas introduces Hive Active Heating, enables remote thermostat control