U.K.’s Hive brings its thermostat and other smart devices to the U.S.

hive smart thermostat us 4
The weather from Liverpool to Leeds likely won’t vary as much as the weather from Syracuse to Savannah, so British smart-home services company Hive took on a tall order in coming to the U.S. British Gas parent company Centrica invested $650 million to bring Hive to North America. It’s taking on competitors such as Nest and Samsung’s SmartThings with its suite of smart-home products.

The difference is that Hive is subscription-based. Users sign up for a two-year contract (early termination fees apply) and get gear to control their homes as part of the cost. The $17-per-month Hive Welcome Home Plan includes the Hive Active Thermostat, two Hive Active Light dimmable bulbs, two Hive window or door sensors, a Hive Active Plug, and the Hive hub.

Those seem to be the only products available at the moment, and the system doesn’t integrate with third-party devices, such as security cameras. “Right now, the focus is on Hive-branded products,” Nina Bhatia, global managing director of Hive, told Digital Trends. “That said, we are continuously exploring new ways to make life easier for customers through carefully curated third-party integrations.”

However, you can use Amazon’s Alexa to control the system with voice commands and use IFTTT to create more robust rules. “We don’t want to overcomplicate the simplicity and reliability of the Hive smart-home experience,” said Bhatia.

Eventually Hive plans on including more subscription tiers: a $10-a-month plan without the thermostat, and then $25-per-month and $40-per-month plans that will include more devices. The $17-per-month plan is only for those who sign up before June 6.

Despite the subscription cost, Hive doesn’t come with professional monitoring — a service Lowe’s is now offering with its Iris products for $15 a month. “Special features like advanced Hive Actions and mimic mode, allowing you to mimic your home’s lighting when you are away, give added peace of mind and are just a couple of examples of services that are coming further down the line,” said Bhatia. Instead, the model is sort of a try-instead-of-buy, as long as you don’t mind trying for two years.

Hive is planning on bringing more solutions to the market this year, based on what its customers are asking for.

Product Review

The Nuimo Click’s self-powering control convenience is cool but costly

Smart home devices might be clever, but needing your phone to use them is not. Senic’s Nuimo Click is the set of physical buttons that your smart devices are missing. But these smart, self-powered buttons aren’t cheap.
Smart Home

ConnectSense’s next plug iteration makes a home smart without a hub

The newest smart outlet in the ConnectSense line of smart home products not only provides a dual plug but can also operate independently of a smart home home, allowing users to control devices directly through an app.

Save money and control your home’s temperature with these smart thermostat deals

With the winter season in full blast, there's no better time to save money with a smart home thermostat. We found the best deals available on smart home thermostats. Control your home's heating via smartphone or voice assistants.
Smart Home

Man claims hacker talked to him through his Nest security camera

An Arizona man claims a white hat hacker was able to communicate with him through a hacked Nest Cam IQ internet-connected security camera and warn him about a vulnerability in the device.
Smart Home

Amazon’s Fire TV Cube gets intercom-style Alexa Announcements feature

Owners of the Amazon Fire TV Cube can now use the media streaming service with Amazon's one-way intercom feature called Alexa Announcements to broadcast messages to other Alexa devices in their home.
Product Review

Spacious and intuitive, Samsung's Family Hub makes the case for the smart fridge

Samsung's 28-cubic-feet Family Hub fridge aims to not only keep your food cool, but also be the brains of your home via a large computer screen on the outside panel door. Just how smart is it?
Smart Home

The C By GE Smart LED Bulbs Work Seamlessly With Google Home

The Smart Light Starter Kit contains a smart lightbulb and a Google Home Mini. For those seeking to try out smart lights in their home, it's a great option and is currently on sale for just $35 through Google.

Keep an eye on things with the Alexa-enabled Ring video doorbell, now only $93

Smart home devices like the Ring video doorbell make it easier to keep an eye on your castle right from your smartphone – no matter where you are. If you want to smarten up your home security, here's how you can grab a Ring doorbell on…
Smart Home

Amazon starts crowdsourcing Alexa’s answers. What could go wrong?

Amazon announced a new resource for its Alexa voice assistant. Alexa Answers is an invitation-only program to which select Amazon customers will be invited to supply brief answers to questions that Alexa was asked but couldn't answer.
Product Review

Putting on the grits with the Instant Pot pressure cooker

If you want to dip your toe into the low-temperature waters of sous vide, the Anova precision cooker is a good way to start. It has a robust app and an easy-to-use interface that just may convert you to a whole new way of cooking.
Smart Home

Instant Pots! Get your Instant Pot! 5 models are on sale now at Amazon

Consumers win big when Amazon pops deals on popular products like Instant Pots. Five Instant Pot models on sale range from $30 to $60 off. If you've been waiting to buy an Instant Pot for a holiday gift, this could be the time.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.

Best deals on home security cameras to save you from package thieves

Home security camera systems can help keep your home and your family safe. Amazon's deals on Blink security cameras and Ring Video Doorbells also help you save money on devices you can access regardless of your current location.
Smart Home

Google Store sale is on now through December 24!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 may be history, but fans of Google hardware including the popular Google Home Hub, Pixel 3 and 3XL mobile phones still have lots of deals in store -- the Google Store, that is.