British Gas dials up plan to make the connected home a reality with Hive

British Gas’ vision to be front and centre in the homes of tomorrow is taking a step closer to becoming a reality with the launch of several additions to its Hive smart home business.

The energy firm wants to secure a dominant spot in connected homes ahead of bigger plays from the likes of Google and Apple. Its efforts to date have flowed through the Hive business, which launched in 2013, and after gaining more than 200,000 for its flagship mobile-controlled heating service it’s now looking to expand into a wider range of services to stay ahead of its rivals.

A plug that lets users switch off the energy supply remotely from their phones and a motion sensor that detects when the home is empty are among the products the business hopes will elevate its smart-home offering. Door sensors that can notify homeowners whether they are properly shut and lights that can be switched on and off wherever a person is in the home are also part of the additions.

Nina Bhatia, commercial director of British Gas, said the updates reflect the company’s plans to help people control their entire home, not just their energy, from the “palm of their hands”. She went on to add that the broader range “is just the beginning” with the company looking to capitalise on the ubiquity of mobile.

It signals the growing momentum behind British Gas’ play to seek out new audiences through connected homes instead of concentrating on those it already supplies.

“We’re making the connected home an easy and accessible reality by bringing the whole system to people from one, trusted provider. We’re the only UK company to deliver the complete connected home experience to our customers – from product development to delivery, installation, and ongoing support,” Bhatia added.

As part of the update, Hive’s Active Heating product has been refreshed to include a sleeker-looking thermostat, a holiday mode setting, greater heating and hot water flexibility along with several other new features.

The products are linked by the technology Honeycomb, which the business gained following its acquisition of connected services business AlertMe in February. British Gas has spoken in the past about the prospect of Hive becoming an open-source platform with which developers could create additional services for the products.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.