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British Gas and RNIB port voice controls to Hive Android app

Smart heating system Hive has been revamped for blind and partially sighted customers thanks to an update to the Android app. 

British Gas and the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) have made use of voice controls on Android phones and tablets, meaning customers can now control every aspect of the Hive app by speaking to it. 

Designed to work with devices running 4.1 Jelly Bean and onwards, the new Hive app lets you drag your finger across the screen and be told what menu options are underneath your finger thanks to turn-by-turn style voice prompts. For partially-sighted users font sizes can be altered as can and the speed at which spoken text is read out. 

It’s the first mobile app that’s been rubber-stamped by the RNIB’s App Accreditation programme, an accessibility kitemark for mobile tech. 

Managing Director of RNIB Solutions Neil Heslop said: "We're very excited to announce that the Hive Active Heating app has received our app accreditation and are pleased that customers with sight loss can benefit from this partnership. 

British Gas and RNIB port voice controls to Hive Android app
Every aspect of the Hive Android app can now be controlled with your voice

The RNIB has previously worked with companies like Sky, YouView and TVonics to make TV hardware and mobile apps more accessible. 

The partnership with British Gas marks the first time the charity has worked with a heating supplier. RNIB spokespeople hinted at future plans for the App Accreditation scheme, but declined to name any other companies, services and smart home systems the Institute might be working with. 

It's not yet known when (or even if) the iOS Hive app will add similar features and make use of Siri, Apple's talkative assistant

You can download the updated British Gas Hive app from Google Play now. 

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