British Gas Hive

We worked with the Hive team at British Gas to design a thermostat that solves the problems of new technologies often being too complex and cumbersome in real life: installation challenges, simplicity of use, discretion in the residential environment, cultural adaptations and fit. Designing the form factor and digital experience simultaneously, we were able to create a product that is familiar, while at the same time delivering a totally new experience.

The Fuseproject digital team built a new experience architecture from the ground up, with the goal of making the Hive thermostat the most approachable for a wide range of UK customers. A push of the dial makes the previously invisible LCD display appear through the mirrored surface, lighting up only the necessary buttons to clearly direct the user. The initial guide walks users through a step-by-step process, asking questions to help curate the experience for each person. In as little as a few minutes, the user can set up to six timed temperature and hot water settings per day. In user testing, the Hive thermostat tested significantly higher than other smart home devices, receiving a ‘World Class’ usability status.

Once the settings are confirmed, the user never needs to touch the thermostat again – any updates can happen from a phone. If the user decides to override the system manually, they can simply turn the dial to change the temperature, or press either of the buttons hidden on the top of the thermostat to quickly boost heat or hot water. Even with the override, the system will automatically go back to its typical schedule after that time block.

The industrial design team was aware of the ubiquity of the white box with a dial found in every home. Drawing from new forms and materials inspiration, we took the familiar further into something new: the key aesthetic feature for the new thermostat is the surface material – a NCVM front treatment that makes the device resemble a small mirror and hides the display unless someone is operating it. This is our way of making the thermostat blend into the home as it reflects the environment.  Unlike other tech products of today, the Hive thermostat is meant to live in a home for years and even a decade.  The design has longevity, while at the same time the changeable color and material frames make the product adapt to a range of home décor, and even a new homeowner.

Recognition

  • International Design Awards, Silver, 2016
  • IDEA, Bronze, Product Design, 2016