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Brief Published: 16 Jul 2015

Hive Connected Home: New Smart Thermostat

Hive Active Heating 2

UK-based technology company Hive – an innovation brand of energy company British Gas – has launched a second iteration of its Active Heating smart thermostat, alongside a Hive app and family of complementary connected home products.

Designed by California-based entrepreneur Yves Behar, the new thermostat has an intuitive LED display unit that is simple enough for anyone to use, regardless of how tech-savvy they are, in keeping with his human-first approach to design. An on-screen guide enables easy programming by asking straightforward questions, such as: "What is more important to you? Energy efficiency or comfort?"

The thermostat gives the consumer greater control over their heating, enabling them to save energy and money. Alongside improving the flexibility of the scheduling, the new model also offers a holiday mode for when the user is away from home; a heating boost option for instant warmth; and a multi-zone function for homes with areas that are plumbed separately.

The device is controlled through a dial that allows tactile feedback and three buttons, creating an instantly understandable interface. "The dial is iconic, something people are familiar with," Behar said. A mirrored-finish front reflects its surroundings, while the interchangeable coloured frames can either complement or contrast against the interior. The company worked with paint brand Dulux to create the palette, choosing the most popular hues from its range. For more on the appeal of adaptable designs, see the Spring/Summer 2016 Design Direction Extend.

Hive will add to the product family later this year with a smart plug, motion sensors, and lights, along with the Honeycomb app that will unite all devices in one place. The system will enable full automation, or prompt actions by users dependent on circumstances, such as when they leave a certain radius of their home.

As seen at International CES earlier this year, simple and intuitive systems are key to widening the reach of connected home products outside of the early-adopting tech enthusiasts. For more on how brands are looking to engage consumers with the Internet of Things, see our recent blog post on Sears and Target's in-store connected home concepts.