It’s the turn of Tom Guy, global product director at Centrica Hive, to talk us through the important tech in his life – and Newcastle United

Most exciting tech you are working on at the moment?

To be honest we don’t look at it that way. We think about what’s the most exciting product or design or even customer problem we have to solve. With that in mind, we’re doing two things at the moment. Firstly, in the Connected Care category and on our Hive Link service. With some simple sensors and some pretty magical data learning we can help elderly loved ones stay in their home longer.

Secondly, the data science work in the area of the business we call Healthy Home. Hive has been developing technology in this area almost from the start of the business, connecting devices that allow the Hive system to constantly check everything is running okay, or flagging issues as they arise – for example, providing more detail for an engineer to point at the most likely issue. We also have a leak sensor that connects to your pipe by your stop tap that can monitor any small to large leaks you may have in your home.

What tech, piece of kit or process most excites you in your working life and why?

There are two pieces of tech we are investigating at the moment to see whether we can create a seamless product experience. Firstly, adding facial recognition to our Hive View Camera. We know customers only want to be notified about things that are important to them. So, either we can mute any notifications of people they recognise, or alternatively we can let you know your teenage daughter has arrived back from school or a friend’s house with a simple notification to your app. Secondly, building out our current Hive Link service, we’re working with a number of tech companies on technologies that would allow us to detect if someone has had a fall.

How do you like to communicate?

There is nothing better than face-to-face conversations and always out of the office, so I enjoy catching up with colleagues in the coffee bars near our HQ in London. I also prefer face to face with our suppliers and designers – however that means getting on a plane and sometimes that’s just not convenient – so Google Hangouts and Slack are widely used by our teams.

What bit of tech couldn’t you be without at work?

It’s an obvious one but probably my iPhone and iPad. It means you can work anywhere, and with the new iPad Pro I haven’t used a Mac for a number of months now. However, I am not sure I would chance doing a keynote without the Mac.

What bit of tech couldn’t you be without at home?

I absolutely love the Sonos range (right) with built-in Alexa. It’s changed how we listen to music in the home. With two teenage girls I am not always overly impressed with the noise coming out of the speakers, but the sound is always superb. The simplicity of the industrial design and digital experience through the app really make it a joy to use.

If money was no object?

Fix the gender pay gap.

And a personal one – buy Newcastle United, spend money on new players and start to enjoy football again!

Most admired entrepreneur or business leader?

I have a wide-ranging respect for a number of leaders, people who I have worked with or for, such as Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse, Talk Talk and now Five Guys – he is so understated and hardly ever in the press, but probably one of our leading entrepreneurs.

Tom Guy describes himself as a seasoned technology and digital executive, leader and strategist, with more than 20 years’ experience in the hardware, music and video, games and software, and retail sectors.

He joined Hive as part of the original founding team in 2013, and leads the global product, design and proposition teams.

Through his own business, Bubblestorm, he is an adviser to the board at cloud technology company Catch Media, and a board member and adviser at the leisure technology start-up Yachtsie.com. Catch Media was the first scan and match service in the industry and is breaking new ground in further developing a smart cloud platform – Play Anywhere. Yachtsie is revolutionising the world of yacht chartering.

This interview first appeared in Flex, issue 3. Read the full issue of Flex here

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