Care is an issue of mounting importance, significantly impacting both work and home life economically and socially, changing the way we live. Globally, we are experiencing an ageing population and rapidly increasing numbers of those with long-term illness and disabilities. It’s estimated that three in five people of this generation are expected to become carers, whilst the number of carers is expected to grow from 6.5 million to 9 million by 2037.
Centrica has always been passionate and a real champion for carers. Empowering carers is a key pillar in our responsible business strategy, particularly as we have over 1,000 employees currently registered on our network who have caring responsibilities.
Introducing Hive Link
I’m proud to announce that today, we’re taking our first steps into connected care, by launching Hive Link. It’s a new smart service that helps families look after their loved ones. We’ve developed it in partnership with Carers UK and have tested it rigorously with people who are in the caring community. Hive Link provides peace of mind by allowing families to check their loved one is getting on with their day as usual, while giving all concerned the reassurance that someone is there if needed.
Hive Link keeps family members up-to-date with what’s going on when they can’t be there with their loved one. It works silently in the background, so that no one need do anything differently. We’ve created a smart Hive algorithm which runs in the background, it continually interprets data captured by a small number of Hive smart home devices carefully placed round the home. This information is then shown through an intuitive, easy to use activity log within the Hive app to help family members better follow their loved one’s routine.
If the loved one deviates from a usual routine, following an unusual pattern of behaviour in the morning or at night time, or if their front door is left open for longer than normal, their family and friends can quickly be sent a notification to their smartphones, allowing for an immediate and appropriate response, such as a phone call or dropping in for a visit. By keeping people better informed, it can give peace of mind and reassurance, meaning family, friends and loved ones can be free to enjoy conversations that matter most, being less about checking up - and more about having a chat.
Sharing the Caring
Caring often increases the daily pressure on an individual. Hive Link is designed to share the caring responsibilities, empowering other family members and friends to help look out for a loved one, giving support to the individual who historically had most responsibility. Hive Link introduces the sharing Circle, a unique feature where the family and loved one can choose a circle of family and friends to have access to the service, meaning anyone in the Circle can access the activity log and receive notifications so they can be on hand to help if needed.
Now and Next
At launch on 13th December 2018, Hive Link monitors routines for the morning and night time, and knows if the front door has been left open longer than normal. It takes at least a week to learn the routine of a loved one but gets smarter over time with more data captured and analysed, making notifications more reliable.
From purchase to installation to ongoing care, families and loved ones are carefully and thoughtfully supported throughout by highly trained Centrica staff. Our customer care team has vulnerability training, while installation is carried out by a specifically trained British Gas engineer, all working to give a highly personalised set-up ensuring family members and loved ones are completely comfortable with the service from day one.
This is only the beginning for Hive Link and our journey in connected care. Looking to the future, we have clearly set out our intention to continue our work with Carers UK to further improve and enhance the service, with a robust and exciting roadmap already in place for 2019.
Hive link is available to order today, visit hivehome.com for further details.