As you all know, I opened my own coworking space in Totnes at the start of 2020. What a ride that’s been! I did not expect the year to go like this, that’s for sure. Of course, I did some crisis and disaster mitigation planning before I launched, but not once did global pandemic figure on my list of potential issues I may have to deal with when starting a new business. It’s been a baptism of fire. But, we’re still here, and on 2nd January 2021 it will be our one year anniversary.
Despite two national lockdowns, we have managed to keep operating and welcoming female (and the odd male) entrepreneurs into our space and supporting them through these turbulent times. We’ve created an amazing community and I think we’re actually on track to come out of this stronger than if the pandemic had never happened.
Upgrading to a Smart Office
Because our future is more certain now and looks a lot brighter, I’ve decided that it’s time to make some upgrades to our little space. It’s time to take the principles of a smart home and bring them into our office! So I’ve partnered up with Hive to make our coworking space into a smart office which is both more secure and more energy-efficient.
For those of you who haven’t come across Hive before, it is one of the nation’s favourite connected home providers servicing 1.9 million homes across the UK.
Hive Smart Products
Hive provides a family of smart products including the award-winning Hive Active Heating and a range of plugs, sensors, light bulbs, indoor and outdoor cameras and thermostatic radiator valves that make managing a home so much easier.
You can basically make your home work harder for you because you can control your home from anywhere using the Hive app your phone. Alternatively, when you’re at home, you can operate it with your voice because it is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Home Kit. And what’s more, once connected all your Hive devices can talk to each other.
But the Hive smart products do more than simplify your home life, the also enable you to create a more energy-efficient home, thereby saving money and reducing your carbon footprint.
For me, I could see big benefits to incorporating some of these smart home products into my coworking space. And I am so pleased that I decided to try some of them out and create a smart office.
Start with the Hive Hub
As I didn’t already own any Hive smart products, the first thing I needed was the Hive hub. This is the genius bit of tech that allows you to connect all of your Hive products and manage them remotely with the award-winning Hive app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You simply connect it to a power source and plug it into your router.
Add Hive Door Sensors
Then, thinking about what I needed most for the coworking space, I opted for door sensors. I have some full-time members here who can come and go as they please, so sometimes they come in before me or leave after me. So I have to just trust that they will close up when they leave. So far we’ve never had any issues, but for my own peace of mind, I thought it would be nice to have some way of knowing that the doors are all closed and locked after they leave.
The Hive door sensors do exactly this. They are battery operated and you simply stick the two components onto the door and the frame. You then need to pair the sensor with the hub to get it connected. Then when the door opens or closes a message is sent to your phone to alert you.
If you are using this at home you can easily tell when there is any suspicious activity like intruders coming into your home. This would be a great feature if you are away from home for extended periods.
The sensors can also be used on windows which can be really useful from a home security perspective but also from an energy point of view. For example, if you leave the house and later realise you’ve left the window open (by checking the app), you could turn the heating off so you’re not wasting energy heating the house when it’s all going out the window.
Add Hive Active Plugs
The other product that I decided to test out is the Hive Active Plug, which works like an adapter. You simply plug it into the wall socket and then plug your appliances into it as normal.
The building that the coworking space is in is super old and we don’t have central heating. So the office is heated by electric heaters. Once or twice I’ve forgotten to turn them off of an evening. Obviously, this is a massive waste of energy and money as well as being a fire hazard.
Having the heating plugged in via the Hive Active Plug means that if I do forget to switch the heater off before leaving for the evening, I can simply do it from home via the app. That peace of mind is definitely worth it. It also means I can switch the heating on in the morning so that the office is nice and warm for our arrival. There are so many benefits to creating a smart office.
Saving Money with Smart Devices
According to Hive, the Active Plugs could help save the average household up to £86 per year, by stopping electrical appliances being left on standby. That is a bonus for any homeowner, right?
I have a second Hive Active Plug which I have plugged a floor lamp into. Again this means that if I forget to switch the lamp off of an evening I can do so from home.
Setting up Actions
But this is where it gets interesting. On the Hive app, you can set up actions. Actions are clever little ways to connect your Hive devices together. So for example, you can set your lights to come on when your front door sensor is triggered and it’s dark, creating a nice welcome home atmosphere.
Or you can set the heating to go down and the lights to go off when you shut your bedroom door. There are so many ways that you can get your smart devices working together that takes away all the effort whilst at the same time, saving energy and money. It’s really quite brilliant. Here’s a short video about actions.
So I have set an action that the floor lamp comes on when the office door is opened and goes off when the door is closed. That way we should never forget to turn it off of an evening and it means the first person who comes in of a morning will be greated by the lamp coming on automatically.
Easy to Use and Intuitive
I was a bit sceptical at first as to whether I would be able to set all this up on my own to create a smart office. Technology is usually the domain of my husband and anything that involves routers or pairing I find quite intimidating. But I thought I’d give it a go.
I actually couldn’t believe how easy it was. The instructions that came in each box were super simple and clear and setting everything up on the app couldn’t have been easier. It guided me through each step and was very intuitive.
It did take a few minutes for me to get the door sensors aligned and working, but a bit of manoeuvering and repositioning was all it took. The Active Plugs were no trouble at all. A few simple steps and they were ready to go.
I particularly like how you can rename your smart products so they are easier to identify on the app. And the actions are super simple to set up. There are so many suggestions for what you can get the devices to do, most of which would never even have occurred to me.
Future Plans for the Smart Office
Now that I have the door sensors and Active Plugs, I’ve been eyeing up the Hive View indoor security camera. It’s all very well having door sensors, but if one goes off and tells me someone has entered the office out of hours, I want to know who it is and having a camera would allow me to check.
So it’s safe to say, I’m totally converted to smart home technology. My main concern about it before trying Hive was that it would be too complicated to operate and I would find it overwhelming as I’m not great with technology. But it is so easy to set up, user-friendly and intuitive. And now I have a no-hassle smart office and complete peace of mind.
Black Friday Deals
Have you got any smart home products at home? Would you consider switching to smart? If so, now is a great time to make the switch because Hive is offering 25% off its best selling products during the Black Friday promotion (16 Nov – 30 Nov). So get in quick and bag a bargain.