Hive is a subscription smart home service based out of the UK and will launch in the US this June. The company’s mission is to make it easier for consumers to set up a smart home. Instead of individually purchasing and setting up each device which can be expensive and time-consuming, Hive offers it all in one package with three different services to choose from: starter, regular and premium. Each package includes the smart home devices themselves as well as a cloud-enabled app to control them. Users can also control the devices with their Alexa-enabled device using voice commands. While the company markets itself as a subscription service, users must commit to 24 months up front.
Subscription Service as a Strategy
Hive’s subscription service is a clever one to get consumers to adopt the smart home. A recent PwC consumer study found that while awareness of the smart home is high, adoption is not. Only 26% of respondents said they owned a smart home device. The biggest barrier according to the study is price, with 42% naming price as their biggest hesitation. By positioning its service as only $9.99 a month, Hive makes the smart home seem affordable and approachable.
“The no up-front cost is in direct response to very, very clear customer feedback around the affordability of smart-home solutions. This first subscription plan is intended to make the service accessible with a low monthly subscription rate. We know that customers find that appealing,” said Nina Bhatia, Global Managing Director of Hive’s parent company, Centrica.
The company claims it has over 500,000 subscribers in the UK. Taking that success Stateside could be a winning strategy for the company as the US has almost 120 million households. Even getting a small portion of those to adopt Hive (0.4%) would double the number of subscribers.
Easing into Smart Home Adoption
Despite the number of smart home devices on the market, the one thing missing is consumer adoption. By letting consumers ease into the new technology, Hive’s service could appeal to a wider audience and potentially disrupt the smart home market in the US as we know it. Centrica Connected Home VP Roy Vella commented:
We are trying to move the market. The market as it stands is about buying equipment…We believe the IoT market is going to go in the same direction as everything else: You buy a service from the provisioner, you’re not so concerned about the device that delivers the service.