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British Gas Connected Homes reveals super smart household gadgets for its Honeycomb IoT platform

Margi Murphy | July 16, 2015
Get behind the scenes with the technology supporting Hive smart thermostats and British Gas' IoT platform.

Lean startup principles - how does the team work?

But high-end technology is not enough to create a great IoT foundation, Chakraborty added. Customers have directed every new feature and iteration to create a line of really useful gadgets. The firm speaks to Hive customers through its websites, interviews and even invites them into the office after hours, he revealed.

Based on this feedback, dedicated teams work out all the necessary requirements before designing, engineering and programming the apps to complement each feature in an agile manner.

Since opening its doors two years' ago, the London based company is "getting much better at estimating how long new features take," Chakraborty said. The product and development team have "naturally gotten faster" at iterating too. A small feature change now takes just a couple of weeks and a considerable change just six weeks thanks to its lean startup principles championed by Director Kassir Hussain and his team.

One platform to rule them all

Similarly to the likes of Ocado, British Gas Connected Homes' bespoke technology platform stands it apart from competitors.

Chakraborty said: "Because we have a platform that is easy to build on now, we have been defining the radio layer to say 'OK if you are a thermostat, what are the properties. This means in the future we could add another and it would just work - unless the actual product has some intrinsically difficult features."

It has also built a "synthetic layer", which combines several devices on Honeycomb to create a new service. Using its smart plug, door sensor and camera, Hive customers could watch a live stream of their home after being alerted to a door opening - all from their phone. These services could be available as soon as next year, and the firm have created "a number of synthetic devices."

Kassir Hussain, director of British Gas Connected Homes, said: "We've created a family of connected home products that are easy to use, accessible for everyone, and genuinely make life easier. We're the only UK provider to deliver the complete connected home end-to-end experience from ownership of the platform to product creation, installation and on-going support. We're excited to be expanding our portfolio and making the connected home at last a reality for everyone.

"This is only the beginning. We're already working to give our customers even more ways to customise how they control their homes with Hive so they can create personalised 'recipes' to fit with their lifestyles. We're starting by adding our own products to the Honeycomb platform, as we open it up we'll work with a number of trusted brands and partners too. Expect further announcements on this over the coming months."

 

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