As winter sets in, a warm home is important. In the U.K., home heating is almost exclusively done with a boiler, which conjures images of cantankerous elderly equipment that fails at the worst moment. If you think that home heating is a relic of the analog world and technology wants nothing to do with it, think again.
Thermostat on radiator. (Photo by BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)
However advanced technology becomes, the digital world has to work in conjunction with the analog one. A smart home where the morning alarm clock triggers the central heating, the lighting and even the tea kettle still needs the right plumbing, gas supply and mains power. Big organizations like British Gas or Boxt, which is a recent addition to the service industry, are eager to make digital and analog work together.
Boxt is an installer of boilers, air conditioning and, soon, electric vehicle chargers. Like British Gas, the Boxt engineers work with smart home accessories, too. So, when a boiler is installed, you can opt for a Nest learning thermostat, for instance, just as British Gas can supply its favored Hive system.
British Gas has a huge team of engineers, while Boxt has a network of local suppliers and installers.
Technology can help keep costs down, and one way to do this includes an initial connection thats done exclusively through a carefully detailed website. This is key for Boxt and is the first contact the customer has with the company. There are increasingly specific questions greeting the site visitor, such as Is your boiler combi or system?. It enquires which room your current boiler is located in and whether youre in a flat, bungalow or terrace. It even establishes water pressure in accessible terms by asking how quickly the water comes out of the cold tap, in accessible terms such as: Slow, takes more than 10 seconds to fill a pint glass.
These are questions that determine the kind of boiler and lead to the website deciding the price. Boxt claims the site can deliver a quote within 90 seconds. I tried the site multiple times with imagined scenarios of varying complexity. Sometimes it took longer, but never more than about six minutes in total. Crucially, this automation avoids the need for an engineers visit in almost all cases, which keep costs down. As a result, Boxts quotes can compare favorably to British Gas.
If a particular property is more complicated, youre asked to call Boxt so they can discover more details, or you may be required to send photos of your current boiler. If needed, Boxt can arrange an engineer visit.
Although it doesnt mean the service cant do complicated installations, there may be some situations like a complete relocation of the boiler to another room, say where it could be simpler to use a local tradesperson after all.
Boxt takes advantage of the fact that many new boilers are like-for-like swaps where the old one is removed and the new plonked in its place.
Key to the whole experience is the immediacy of availability: if your heating has broken, and you are keying in your details before 3PM, you can even choose a next-day installation. This attracts a price premium.
There are also higher prices for weekend visits, lower ones for midweek dates that are a little time off.
A central heating boiler, here installed by BOXT, can look good enough that you don't need to hide ... [+] it in a cupboard.
The boiler, pipes, fittings and all accessories arrive automatically by courier on the day of the appointment and apart from one phone call where the installer introduces themselves, everything is automated though customer service staff are available if needed. Costs are competitive but even when they are not the lowest, the fixed-price element is critical to the simplicity of the service.
None of this would matter much if the actual installation and supply part of the deal wasnt up to scratch.
Dre Smith, a musician who lives in Sandy, Bedfordshire, had her new system installed by Boxt. I asked her about her experience and she was impressed. I used the website to specify what boiler I needed. It took a few minutes, but it was straightforward and there were explanations to help if youre not sure. I got my quote immediately, and I chose a day when installation was a bit cheaper Id planned ahead because my boiler was still working. I think I might have been able to get a cheaper price elsewhere, but the fixed price was one of the main attractions, and you dont feel youre being upsold. I had the option of a free Google Nest Learning Thermostat and Google Home Mini, too. The day before installation, I got a call from my assigned engineer to arrange what time they'd come and on the morning, the boiler and other accessories were delivered about an hour before the engineer arrived.
British Gas also has a website where customers can specify what theyre after and estimated prices are quickly shared there, too. But there seems to be a hand-off to humans sooner than with Boxt.
As more parts of the process are computerized, costs can be controlled and human involvement limited almost until the first moment where tap meets wrench. At which point, the providing of cups of tea to the humans in your house is still mandatory.
Follow me on Instagram by clicking here: davidphelantech and Twitter: @davidphelan2009
More on Forbes: Secrets Of The Apple iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case Revealed
The 11 Best Apple iPhone 11 Pro And iPhone 11 Pro Max Cases You Can Buy Right Now
Read more from the original source:
- How Digital Signage and Wayfinding Technology are Evolving to Meet Post-Pandemic Needs - Digital Signage Connection - August 31st, 2020
- 'Thinking Forward' to Harness the Technology of Today for a Better Tomorrow - Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) - August 31st, 2020
- 20 ways to beat China with technology, culture and policy - FierceElectronics - August 31st, 2020
- Smart Eye Technology Launches the World's Only Screen Privacy and Document Security Platform - PRNewswire - August 31st, 2020
- Carnegie Robotics Launches Thoro.ai to Commercialize Robotics Technology for Autonomous Cleaning and Disinfection - Daily Local News - August 31st, 2020
- From a buzz to biz lever: How new technology is becoming central in a post-Covid world - Economic Times - August 31st, 2020
- Vodafone Institute: Empowering women worldwide with technology - The F-LANE social ventures accelerator kicks-off its 2020 programme with 10... - August 31st, 2020
- South China Morning Post Appoints John Artman as the Technology Editor - Editor And Publisher Magazine - August 31st, 2020
- Technology is changing the face of education. Here's how - World Economic Forum - August 31st, 2020
- The new technology innovations to expand geothermal energy use in Europe - Euronews - August 31st, 2020
- Netflix: Top 15 Technology Skills and 10 Jobs It Wants - Dice Insights - August 31st, 2020
- Unum Therapeutics Transfers BOXR Cell-Based Therapy Technology to SOTIO - PRNewswire - August 31st, 2020
- Elon Musks Neuralink is neuroscience theater - MIT Technology Review - August 31st, 2020
- Genesis MedTech Acquires World-first Drug-coated Balloon Technology with Next-generation Angioplasty Architecture for the Treatment of Peripheral... - August 31st, 2020
- Advances in technology provide new data on the topography of the Haines State Forest - KHNS Radio - August 31st, 2020
- Global Anti-Counterfeit Packaging Market by Technology, End-use Industry and Region - Forecast to 2025 - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire - August 31st, 2020
- Technology is helping Omahans 'swipe right' on love in a time of social distancing - Omaha World-Herald - August 31st, 2020
- Being on forefront of technology to help wounded veterans earns Holbert invitation to Republican National Convention - Blade Empire - August 31st, 2020
- MVRDV and Delft University of Technology Release "Le Grand Puzzle", an Urban Study of Marseille in the South of France - ArchDaily - August 31st, 2020
- The World Needs American Leadership in Setting the Technological Standards of the Future - Nextgov - August 31st, 2020
- CoilPod LLC Announces Allowance of Patent on Technology to Detect Coil Fouling in Refrigeration Units - ACHR NEWS - August 31st, 2020
- Is the Gig Up? Worker Misclassification in the Technology Age - JD Supra - August 31st, 2020
- Global Ammonium Persulfate Market to 2025 - by Manufacturers, Regions, Technology, and Application - GlobeNewswire - August 31st, 2020
- Memers are making deepfakes, and things are getting weird - MIT Technology Review - August 31st, 2020
- Could You Survive Driving Without Modern Technology? - The Drive - July 19th, 2020
- ProScan Moves to New Crestview Hills Office, Adds New Technology - The River City News - July 19th, 2020
- TechCrunch talks virtual events and event technology - TechCrunch - July 19th, 2020
- How An Under 30 Alum Got His Startups Technology For Stabilizing Helicopter Baskets Into This Years National Defense Authorization Act - Forbes - July 19th, 2020
- Call for UK task force to drive adoption of new technology - New Civil Engineer - July 19th, 2020
- Huawei 5G kit must be removed from UK by 2027 - BBC News - July 19th, 2020
- FG Urged to Adopt Technology in Tackling Corruption - THISDAY Newspapers - July 19th, 2020
- Advancements in Technology to Aid the Growth of the Semantic Knowledge Graphing Market Over the Forecast Period 2017 2025 - 3rd Watch News - July 19th, 2020
- Global Irreversible Electroporation Ablators Market by Trends, Dynamic Innovation in Technology and Key Players| AngioDynamics, Pulse Biosciences, and... - July 19th, 2020
- Lancashire aircraft makers team up with motor racing specialists on battery technology - Blackpool Gazette - July 19th, 2020
- Twitter Wouldnt Be Hacked If It Were Backed by Blockchain Technology - Cointelegraph - July 19th, 2020
- Global Social Networking Services Market Global Business Growing Strategies, Technological Innovation And Emerging Trends Outlook To 2026 - Cole of... - July 19th, 2020
- Gartner reveals Top Supply Chain Technology Trends in 2020 - Which-50 - July 19th, 2020
- Microsoft Targets Consulting Services For Higher-Risk Projects And New Technologies - CRN: Technology news for channel partners and solution providers - July 19th, 2020
- Apple CEO Tim Cook on the nexus of technology and social change - CBS News - June 21st, 2020
- From Microsoft to the iPhone, getting technology right for 25 years - CNET - June 21st, 2020
- With schools closed, immigrant communities struggle with access to technology and connection - Summit Daily News - June 21st, 2020
- Ford's electric Mustang will offer hands-free driving technology next year - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Carbon capture technology is an elusive dream - The Durango Herald - June 21st, 2020
- Microsoft and SAS announce deep technology partnership - TechCrunch - June 21st, 2020
- Why tech didnt save us from covid-19 - MIT Technology Review - June 21st, 2020
- China and India need each other. Just look at technology - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Expert view: Technology is a blessing and a curse when it comes to global cybersecurity threats - Stockhead - June 21st, 2020
- Scientists split over which disease to put in 6G technology - The Big Smoke Australia - June 21st, 2020
- Inside the NBA's plan to use smart technology and big data to keep players safe from coronavirus - CNBC - June 21st, 2020
- The West is being naive about China's use of technology in this looming cold war - iNews - June 21st, 2020
- Leonardo and Intermarine to research and develop new technologies - Naval Technology - June 21st, 2020
- While Dems and GOP squabble over extending $600 unemployment benefits, outdated technology may slow any solution - CNBC - June 21st, 2020
- Intl. Conference on Recent Trends in Science and Technology held - Star of Mysore - June 21st, 2020
- Methyl Glucose Market by Technology, Application & Geography Analysis & Forecast to 2025 - 3rd Watch News - June 21st, 2020
- NHS Covid app developers 'tried to block rival symptom trackers' - The Guardian - June 21st, 2020
- Coronavirus: 5 technologies inspired by the pandemic - The National - June 21st, 2020
- Technology Will Not Save Us - The New York Times - May 2nd, 2020
- Amid a new technology normal, gaps and gratitude for the devices that sustain us - Citizen Times - May 2nd, 2020
- COVID-19 and Technology: Commonly Used Terms - EFF - May 2nd, 2020
- Salon turns to dry fog technology to kill coronavirus ahead of reopening - FOX 31 Denver - May 2nd, 2020
- A brief history of video and technology in baseball, and how it helped teams steal signs - The Boston Globe - May 2nd, 2020
- How South Korea has used tech to successfully contain COVID-19 - Business Insider - Business Insider - May 2nd, 2020
- AI proven to be invaluable technology during pandemic - Khaleej Times - May 2nd, 2020
- The Use Of Technology And Future Of Work Has Changed Because Of COVID-19 - caribbeannationalweekly.com - May 2nd, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on the Airport Operations Market by Technology and Region - Global Forecast to 2025 - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Yahoo Finance - May 2nd, 2020
- Apple must expand its COVID tracing technology into large scale testing - AppleInsider - May 2nd, 2020
- A 'pandemic drone' and other technology could help limit the spread of coronavirus and ease restrictions sooner, but at what cost? - ABC News - May 2nd, 2020
- Highlights from Hegeman: Getting rural Missouri the technology it needs - The Maryville Forum - May 2nd, 2020
- 15-year-olds life mission preserved through foundation providing technology to children in need - NJ.com - May 2nd, 2020
- The US already has the technology to test millions of people a day - MIT Technology Review - May 2nd, 2020
- Electric Car BYD Han To Have More Range With New Battery Technology - Fossbytes - May 2nd, 2020
- The neuroscience of loneliness and how technology is helping us - The Next Web - May 2nd, 2020
- Stimulus checks and other coronavirus relief hindered by dated technology and rocky government rollout - SF Gate - April 23rd, 2020
- Australias Fire Season Ends, and Researchers Look to the Next One - The New York Times - April 23rd, 2020
- US lawmaker says any COVID-19 contact tracing technology should be voluntary and limited - Gadgets Now - April 23rd, 2020
- Summerside convention brings new technology to the field - The Guardian - April 23rd, 2020
- 'Alexa turn on the lights;' how to add smart technology to your home - SW News Media - April 18th, 2020
- How Las Cruces Public Schools is providing technology to 1 in 5 students who need it - KVIA El Paso - April 18th, 2020
- China's strategy to reorient US tech companies is exposed what next? | TheHill - The Hill - April 18th, 2020
- How China used technology to combat COVID-19 and tighten its grip on citizens - Amnesty International - April 18th, 2020