I had the horrible old boiler in my flat replaced recently, with British Gas doing the work. As part of it, they installed a Hive smart thermostat. This has a few blingsome features, but the main reason I wanted it was to gain remote control of my heating from an app on my phone. Living alone and having irregular comings and goings, this ability could be quite a nice money-saver (or, a means to come home to a warm flat rather than a cold one). I can't say much about it yet, having had it installed in the hottest week of the year with no prospect of needing central heating until October.

However, a few bits and pieces do come to mind:

  • My version of the Hive "hub" (the bit that plugs into your router to do the internet access) is powered off a mains cable which ends in a USB plug - although they supplied it with a normal UK plug on the end of that, it seems quite happy to take its power from the USB port on the back of my router, which saves taking up a socket.
  • They clearly expect you to configure via the Android or iOS app, not the website. For example, I can't find a button on the website to copy a day's schedule from one day to the next, whereas the app has that (as does even the nastiest digital heating timer from the 90s).
  • The ability to specify different temperatures for different time periods is kinda neat.
  • The alerts are a bit dumb. I've had several e-mails this week warning me that my flat is exceeding 25°C. However, given that it's the hottest week of the year and the heating hasn't been on for a month, this is not terribly useful. What really grates about this is that their app has an icon showing the weather and external temperature - but they're obviously not making much use of this information.
  • The geofencing feature is a disappointment. I want it to turn the heating on and off, not just alert me, since I'm a one-person household and usually on my bike and unable to respond to the alerts when travelling. However, despite the lack of an official API, they do have control by text message. So perhaps when winter sets in I'll write an Android app to fill in the missing features. Watch this space...