After succeeding in the U.K., Hive is ready to enter the U.S. smart home market. With the market already crowded with competitors, the planned multi-stage rollout will test the waters a few states at a time.
Initially, the firm will partner with energy provider Direct Energy to offer a plan called Connect to Comfort 24 in five states: Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and Texas, as well as the western portion of Pennsylvania. As pointed out by CNET, the package will include a Wi-Fi-enabled Hive Active Thermostat with a two-year commitment. Free installation is offered upon request and the energy rate will be locked in during the contract period. For pricing comparison, this plan costs 8.59 cents per kilowatt hour in Illinois. This represents a premium over the most affordable standard plan, which costs 7.19 cents. No water heater controller will be made available yet.
After this soft launch, Hive will begin selling subscription-based smart home kits in May. While the firm has already been selling standard starter kits in the U.S. since fall 2016, the new offerings will be more use-case driven. For example. Hive Welcome Home is a kit that includes a control hub, thermostat, smart light bulbs, smart power outlet adapters, and window and door sensors. The idea is that the home will automatically adjust the temperature and lighting when owners walk through the door or open a window for fresh air. Rather than an upfront cost, users would just pay a subscription fee.
At the moment, Hive is still determining what services will come with a subscription. The app that controls everything and online customer service will be included at the bare minimum. Because of this, subscription pricing has yet to be disclosed.
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