Eye spy: Yves Béhar’s Hive View is an all-seeing addition to the smart home
Hive View Camera, from £189
It won’t have escaped even the most ardent Luddite that our devices are trying harder and harder to fulfil new desires by creating ever more complex ways of connecting with the humble home. It started with bulbs and thermostats but now the array of smart devices extends to plugs, switches, sensors and cameras.
Of all the smart home ecosystems on the market, Hive is one of the best established. Hive is the consumer facing name of Centrica Connected Home, and presents itself as a thriving digital business, with a buzzy West End office and products designed by a familiar name – more of which later. Hive’s system is based around a Connected Hub that docks with your router and bonds with your wi-fi. Additional devices can then be plugged in as required, all controlled through a web interface, or app, or even Amazon’s Alexa. In practice, it's agreeably straightforward although as with all smart devices, it’s best to have an idea what you want to do before you invest, lest you waste time conjuring up silly lighting tricks or spookily self-starting electrical appliances.
Hive View in white and champagne gold, and black and brushed copper, by Yves Béhar, for Hive
Rounding off the current suite of devices is the new Hive View, a dockable security camera that once again has been designed by Yves Béhar’s fuseproject studio. Béhar is the hand behind all of Hive’s devices, imbuing them with a classic high-tech simplicity that brings to mind a Kubrickian world of smooth, pebble-like objects (or in his words, ‘discrete experiences and elegant designs’). Having snared a clutch of awards for the Hive thermostat back in 2016, he’s hoping the latest device will also grab aesthetes’ attention.
Hive View sits on a magnetic clasp on a magnetic stand, a little rounded cube with an almost anthropomorphic stance. Connect the camera via your phone (the work of moments if you’re already in the Hive vibe), and the device joins the cluster on your dashboard. Then it’s just a case of working out what you want to do. For most people, View is best as a high-end security camera, with a wide-angled, non-distorting lense that’ll capture great swathes of your living space.
Hive View in white and champagne gold, by Yves Béhar, for Hive
The motion activation can be tuned to detect only people (otherwise pets, reflections and the wind in the trees all set it off) and notification options give you the choice of being told when it’s active. You then have the choice of checking in live through the app, or simply sifting through the short HD video (or audio) clips it records of the event (stored for 24 hours, or longer if you subscribe to the upgraded membership package). The camera automatically switches to night view (offering strong potential for creepy snippets of imagined spectral sightings) and also has a ‘grab and go’ feature that’ll let you detach it from the base and pop it down wherever you like in the house until the batteries expire.
Finished in white and champagne gold or black and brushed copper, Hive View will continue to be upgradeable with new customisable actions to come, including the potential for using the unit as a form of intercom. If you really need remote viewing in your life, and we’re not going to question your reasons, the Hive View is one of the smartest solutions you can buy.