British Gas has announced an upgrade to its Hive smart thermostat. The new version adds new features and an LED display to the wall-mounted unit.
Apparently existing Hive users will also feel the benefits, with a new version of the app enabling users to trigger a heat boost for up to 6 hours, as well as offering greater flexibility on heating and hot water scheduling. The app will also be able to put the thermostat into "holiday mode", which will presumably shut off all of the energy-wasting components and just ensure that your house remains warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing (which for some reason seems even weirder to think about in July). If users upgrade to a Hive 2, much of this functionality will be available through the thermostat display and input itself, and not just through the app.
The app will also build in support for "plumbed multi-zone" functionality, which means that if your house has multiple separate heating systems - say, a different thermostat for upstairs and downstairs - you can now control both through one app. The app supports up to three thermostats simultaneously.
The upgraded hardware has apparently been designed by Yves Béhar, who is the designer behind Jawbone and Soda Stream (!), as well as a number of other products.
Interestingly, Hive also appears to be making a play for the Internet of Things more broadly, as the company has announced a range of complementary products that can also be controlled through the app. Roughly analogous to the likes of Belkin's WeMo range, there's "Active Plugs", which lets you remotely toggle plug sockets, motion sensors, "active lights" for lighting control and even window and door sensors. All of these products are built on top of Hive's "Honeycomb" IOT platform.
A release date for the complementary products hasn't yet been announced, but the new thermostat will be available to buy online from 15th July - with British Gas providing installations from August. For new customers it'll cost £249 including the installation fee, and for a limited period of time existing customers can upgrade for only £99.