Challenge

Hive (a Centrica product) offers smart home technologies and has over 1 million customers globally, helping them to control their heating, hot water, lights and plug in devices remotely from any device. Hive creates smart home devices and services, all controlled with a simple to use app.

Customer experience is fundamentally important to Hive, not only for day to day use of existing customers but also to promote increased take up of devices and the wider adoption of services. In early 2017, Hive recognised the need to re-engineer their mobile app and website to improve the customer experience.

Solution

Centrica contracted DCSL GuideSmiths, a bespoke software development agency, as their software development partner.

The team – consisting of a Lead Architect, three Software Developers and a Project Manager – worked directly with the product owner and created a Front Line Support Tool (FLST) for engineers and the customer management team to maintain the connected devices, and backend tasks for the smart home systems. A further application, called Boiler IQ, has been developed to connect a device that monitors the user’s boiler and reports the company when it stops working.

Centrica - Hive

The initial design met the requirements and accelerated the move to a truly digital and device agnostic platform, allowing room for expansion. The application was developed using React Native, in their AWS environment. DCSL GuideSmiths incorporated continuous development, testing and deployment components, making progress transparent to Hive at all times.

The smart devices (security, lighting, heating devices etc.) in the customers homes are connected through Bluetooth and wi-fi to a Hub in the user’s home. The team have created a desktop client management system, where the engineers can record and track the users and devices which are connected through their “Hub”. The devices send user information to the Hive Home database. The team has also created an embedded internal application for British Gas, Global Engineering app boiler installation system, called Boiler IQ.

Outcome

Centrica - Hive

DCSL GuideSmiths delivered a cross-platform Client Relationship Manager application and desktop support tool, which enables the connection and operation of smart home devices. It allows engineers and technical support to interact, and provide a real time view of the smart devices. The application offers remote connection, for internal use for engineers in case of malfunction.

DCSL GuideSmiths delivered the two mission critical MVPs (a business critical Web Application and a Mobile Application) ahead of schedule.

Boyan Siderov, Head of Delivery at British Gas Connected Homes commented “DCSL GuideSmiths were impressive from the outset. During the tender process, they demonstrated the quality of their technical skills and the alignment of their technology stack but it was their business critical thinking and innovative architecture skills that made them stand out.”

Boyan continues, “They initially completed a thorough fact-finding exercise to understand the challenge. Once this was completed they were able to understand the tech solution and the team blend required to deliver it. Their approach was truly agile and DCSL GuideSmiths understand agility concepts profoundly. The team delivered on the project in record time using React Native tech stack and also developed a state of the art replacement solution to address challenging limitations with one of our AWS Serverless implementations.”

“Their communication and documentation throughout the project was clear and understandable. They were completely transparent with the solution they created, which meant handover to our internal teams was simple. DCSL GuideSmiths provided valuable feedback on a continuous basis that enabled not only improvements on the way we worked together but also delivery efficiencies for our wider product roadmaps.”

The DCSL GuideSmiths team don’t just talk the agile concept, they live and breathe it. Their attitude, their business ethics, their technical excellence and grasp of continuous integration and deployment make them a perfect strategic partner for any organisation with digital transformation ambitions.

Boyan Siderov, Head of Delivery, British Gas Connected Homes