There’s been a Hive outage today, so far lasting all since around 9.30am this morning.
Hive is the home automation from British Gas which largely is used for central heating and hot water control, but also covers smart plugs, light bulbs, leak protection and cameras.
It appears that the entire Hive system has fallen over, revealing that the Hive App on your smart phone doesn’t talk to your local Hive Hub, but to Hive’s central services which relay requests back to your hub which in turn controls your devices.
As well as the app falling over and failing to communicate with smart home devices, the Hive outage has seen links from Smart Speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo lose the ability to control the smart home.
There have been updates on the Hive outage all regularly throughout the day, mainly saying nothing other than that British Gas are continuing to work on resolving the issue.
For me personally, this means I have to stand up and walk across the room to turn on the lights. I have to walk to the kettle and manually turn it on. I have to walk into the hall to the thermostat to manually turn on the heating or hot water. It’s like living in the dark ages (literally until I turned the lights on), but to be fair it’s only the automation is down – everything in the house still works but only through manual operation.
This does raise the question as to if we are starting to rely too much on technology. While we are in no way suggesting that Hive is connected or even running on the same systems as other technology, what happens if one day our smart meters stop working cutting off our Gas and Electric supply? One would hope that there are fail safes in place to stop this happening, but then who would expect an entire smart home supplier to go offline.
The British Gas Hive outage also raises the question of what happens if the supplier of your chosen smart home devices goes bust and support ends. It would appear that, unless there’s an alternative manufacturer who offers a smart hub that can support your devices, that you’ll be left high and dry.
In reality, for most people manually operating their smart home devices isn’t the end of the world. Doubtless British Gas will get to the bottom of what caused the Hive outage, will fix it, and issue an apology. It’s got to hurt their reputation however – for instance if you’re currently on holiday how do you know if automated schedules have turned your lights on or off and if you can’t view your smart home cameras how do you know if you’re pets need attention?
Are we in danger of becoming too reliant on smart technology or is the British Gas Hive outage just one of those things which people will come to accept as a nuisance and annoyance but carry on investing in their technology?