British Gas Remote Heating Control (Zigbee AlertMe) compatibility?

(Robert Andrews) #1

Hi, I think it would be great if SmartThings is compatible with British Gas’ Remote Heating Control (RHC) system.
Could someone please validate whether this is the case? And, if not, what it would take?

A little bit about the system…

British Gas RHC lets you control your combi gas hot water boiler on/off or through simple scheduling via a website or mobile app - I guess I could use SmartThings to do a simple one/off of the boiler via a smart plug, but that strikes me as potentially inefficient andRHC offers granular thermostat temperature control, so I think it would be fantastic to trigger the RHC-enabled boiler based on certain SmartThings events…

Like SmartThings, RHC depends on a Smart Hub connected to a broadband router by Ethernet. The Smart Hub sends RHC instructions to a wireless handheld thermostat control (the basis of rudimentary in-home remote control), which sends its instructions to a wall-mounted wireless receiver that is connected directly to the boiler.

British Gas’ Smart Hub is actually a licensed AlertMe hub. AlertMe says: “The products are not HA compliant and for that reason, our devices use AlertMe-specific ZCL commands. Zigbee uses linear polarisation. AlertMe uses ZigBee chips, manufactured by Ember. EM260 is used in the SmartHub and EM250 is used in the devices.”

The wireless thermostat control is British Gas-branded WR1.

Anyone got any input on how, or whether, this lot can talk to each other please?


(The Owl) #2

2 Save Energy (The OWL) have a complete API for integration into our Intuition intelligent smart heating controls for heating and hot water. We do not use Zigbee due to the limitations of range (without using a repeater) in UK properties, we use our proprietary 868Mhz packet based radio with 30M indoor range. Multizone will feature from July allowing 4 heating and 4 hot water zones.

We would be delighted to provide our public interface for the SmartThings community which allows access through the LAN and WAN. If this is of interest then please let us know. You can visit our website to see the portfolio including PV monitoring which works alongside the heating controls.

You can join us on Twitter @OWLenergy if you wish to make contact directly.

(Andy Moreno) #3

Some one has to help with this one. The OWL sounds awesome!

(Robert Andrews) #4

I’m not sure what The Owl has to do with my original query about British Gas… (?)

(Ian Hutton) #5

Hi Robert, I work in the Remote Heating Control team at British Gas.

Your research on the AlertMe site points you in the right direction - British Gas’ Remote Heating Control solution does indeed run over Zigbee but uses a proprietary protocol. This means that it wont just plug into the SmartThings system and SmartThings would not be able to add support for it on their own. We would need to expose a public interface to SmartThings to allow control to take place.

Right now we support control via our web UI, our smartphone apps and via text message. If you wanted to try knocking some SmartThings integration up on your own you could look at our SMS interface. If you could generate SMS messages from SmartThings triggers you could be up and running today, albiet in a less than elegant manner :wink:

Coming back to real integration, this is definitely an interesting area. Do you have any specific use cases in mind - SmartThings trigger events you’d like to play with and the type of control you’d like to have over your heating as a result?

(Robert Andrews) #6

Hi Ian, great to have your reply. Thanks for clarifying.

I’m probably not proficient enough to be able to code SmartApps myself. Although, if and when I do/might, I might roll my sleeves up…

I’m speaking as a (potential) consumer. FYI, right now I have neither British Gas RHC nor SmartThings. I will be moving home soon and have aspirations for better home control so I will be considering becoming a customer of both.

So, I haven’t yet fully conceived of specific use cases; just that, if the two could talk to each other, that could potentially be powerful. However, let me think for starters…

– Heating comes on/off when I enter/leave geo-fence of a specific radius.
– Heating comes on/off when temperature drops below certain level.
– Notify phone out of home when boiler/thermostat status is changed.
– Turn on/off heating (RHC), lights and many appliances when occupant leaves/enters house by proximity/presence tag.
– Play Blur’s ‘The Universal’ on Sonos when boiler is turned on (okay - joking).

All of this stuff should accommodate multiple householders who may or may not be present at same/different times.

(Andy Moreno) #7

I would certainly be moving over to British gas if I could use my smartthings package (when it arrives) to control certain aspects of the heating.

I agree with Roberts list and think that all of them could be great, but I would add the following;

1: be alerted when the house gets above or below a certain temperature and be able to trigger the central heating through the iPhone.
2: tell me the status of the heating, temp, is it on/off etc.

Thanks guys