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Philips Hue bulbs get smarter with geofencing, 'If This Then That' customization

post #1 of 29
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A major software update for Philips' Hue app brings an enhanced user experience to the multi-colored connected LED lighting system, granting owners location-based control of bulb settings, support for the "If This Then That" Internet automation service, and recurring "calendarized" scheduling.

Hue


The new Philips Hue app, announced on Tuesday, adds a much greater level of customization to the smart LED lighting system. When paired with the Hue bridge and bulbs, the application allows iOS and Android devices to access any application programming interface on the Internet to adjust the lights.

The new update allows Hue smart bulbs to act as "informational gateways," providing visual cues related to data such as weather, stock prices, sports scores, e-mail, social media and more. These settings can be customized with a new Philips Huge channel on If This Then That.

Version 1.1 of the official Hue application also adds geofencing support, which allows the system to track a user's location. With this capability, the Hue can automatically turn the lights on or off when a person arrives at or leaves their home, all without the need to take the iPhone out of their pocket.

The update also adds the ability to program recurring schedules to the Hue, allowing users to more easily create repetitive daily behaviors. Lights can be programmed to gradually become brighter and wake a user up, or dim at night when it's time for bed.

Philips Hue


Users can also randomize their lights with the timer function. This allows the bulbs to "organically" switch on and off when a user is away from home, making it appear to outsiders that someone is actually there.

Finally, Philips has also added a new "synchronous scenes" feature that assures all Hue light bulbs change "scenes" in a smooth, immediate manner. Pre-set scenes are now stored in the bulbs themselves, eliminating the domino effect that previously occurred when multiple bulbs received a command.

"People have really taken to Hue with the idea of connected lighting being a stepping stone to the connected home and in the last six months alone it has exceeded sales expectations by 300 percent," said Ed Crawford, general manager and senior vice president of the Professional Channel, Philips Lighting Americas. "We have built a vibrant, vocal community at everyhue.com and the feedback of those voices has been invaluable. The guidance given by our most enthusiastic users was a major factor in bringing our latest updates to life and we can?t wait to see what they think of next."



Philips Hue bulbs debuted last year exclusively at Apple retail stores as part of a limited-time arrangement. Since then, availability has expanded to other retailers such as Amazon, which now offers both the $199 starter pack and individual bulbs for $60 each.

An official Hue software development kit was also released by Philips in March, allowing app makers to integrate the lighting solution into third-party products. One application that takes advantage of Hue is Ambify, a real-world music visualizer which changes the color of Hue bulbs based on the music being played from an iOS device.
post #2 of 29
This would be great for deaf people. Could set it up so they know if they received a text or a FaceTime call is coming through. Very neat idea!
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbit View Post

This would be great for deaf people. Could set it up so they know if they received a text or a FaceTime call is coming through. Very neat idea!

I'm all for automating the home but until I read your post I couldn't conceive of a single useful thing this could do.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbit View Post

This would be great for deaf people. Could set it up so they know if they received a text or a FaceTime call is coming through. Very neat idea!

I'm all for automating the home but until I read your post I couldn't conceive of a single useful thing this could do.

 

An interesting idea, but presumably only useful at home and at night, and thus won't replace whatever alert (vibration?) is used elsewhere and during the rest of the day.

post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

An interesting idea, but presumably only useful at home and at night, and thus won't replace whatever alert (vibration?) is used elsewhere and during the rest of the day.

Sure, but it does allow for all lights in the house to change color if a door bell is pressed. Even during the day I think that would be noticeable. I think the deaf currently use such devices already, but that aren't integrated into the home's natural decor.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

An interesting idea, but presumably only useful at home and at night, and thus won't replace whatever alert (vibration?) is used elsewhere and during the rest of the day.

Sure, but it does allow for all lights in the house to change color if a door bell is pressed. Even during the day I think that would be noticeable. I think the deaf currently use such devices already, but that aren't integrated into the home's natural decor.

 

Maybe so, although if the doorbell made your cell phone vibrate that might be even more functional.

post #7 of 29

I recently noticed Hues are also controllable and programmable via the MiCasaVerde Z-wave home automation controller, using a free Hue app plugin that's received 5-star reviews.

post #8 of 29
App Store finally showed the update 4 hours after this article went live at 12:01. Sounds like a sponsored article to me.
Edited by elmoofo - 5/14/13 at 6:24am
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

I recently noticed Hues are also controllable and programmable via the MiCasaVerde Z-wave home automation controller, using a free Hue app plugin that's received 5-star reviews.

Savant Systems also can work with these for those that have a high end budget and want to do more elaborate systems.

post #10 of 29
Great: more gimmicky features, and more complexity.

I WANT CHEAP WIRELESS SIMPLICITY. Still no company provides this. Heck, if you forget about price we're still at a loss. I don't need mood lighting, I don't need colours (I actually deliberately don't want colours, even if it costs zero to add them. Read: simplicity not complexity), I don't need music-sensitive lighting, I don't need gimmicks, I barely need any features at all.

Here's what I want in a wireless lighting system: Wifi, every bulb should have master capable hardware (i.e. there should be no master bulb. Read: simplicity not complexity), simple, well design software, setting up a new bulb should be just about as easy as putting in a regular bulb, physical light switches should still work as expected (software should allow for this), even setting up the first bulb you buy just after downloading the app should be up and running in 15 seconds with no geek required (it literally should be a case of popping in the bulb opening the app and typing in your wifi password), no base station hardware (comically called a bridge), the bulb should be the only hardware, just like the current solution.

The first company to provide this has my business. End of discussion. I've seen all the solutions out there, including LifX: they all suck!
Edited by Ireland - 5/13/13 at 11:08pm
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #11 of 29

Philips—an 80% price cut would help too.

These lights are still FAR too expensive to be anything more than a nerd gimmick. If we really want to cut energy consumption with smart LED bulbs, they need to be not more than $5 each so that most people can use them for most lighting.

I changed a lot of my lighting over to the plain white LED bulbs but even the most expensive brands like Panasonic (now about $10) do not last ANYTHING like the advertised 40,000+ hours. At about $5 each I wouldn't mind too much if they fail early but at $80 a pop I surely would be very pissed.

post #12 of 29
Much simpler and less expensive options exist. $60 per bulb is pretty ridiculous.

http://www.limitlessled.com/product-category/limitlessled-smart-light-bulbs/
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by freediverx View Post

Much simpler and less expensive options exist. $60 per bulb is pretty ridiculous.

http://www.limitlessled.com/product-category/limitlessled-smart-light-bulbs/

This is closer to what I'm looking for, but not there. I particularly like the option of purchasing white bulbs. And obviously the price is appealing. $16 for a white bulb. This is a good starting price for this relatively new tech. The existence of the bridge sucks, however. And I don't want to hear someone saying it's not possible without a bridge. LifX (a product I'm not fond of for other reasons) has no bridge hardware.

But sadly it's around $100 to get a starter kit shipped to Ireland, which essentially consists of 2 bulbs. I don't count the bridge for reasons I've stated, and I would use the app.

Check out what happens if I order 1 white Limitless bulb:


Edited by Ireland - 5/14/13 at 5:26am
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #14 of 29
At $60 a bulb, and they claim it's selling, I guess someone has to have their gadgets. There's always a niche market for something. I only want warm white.

I still haven't bought an bulb replacement style LED light, it seems too much more money for too little of an improvement. I've retrofit fixtures for linear fluorescent bulbs to LED for not much more than the cost of replacing the bulbs and ballasts, which they needed anyway.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

At $60 a bulb, and they claim it's selling, I guess someone has to have their gadgets. There's always a niche market for something. I only want warm white.

I still haven't bought an bulb replacement style LED light, it seems too much more money for too little of an improvement.

Spoken like a true Apple man.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Spoken like a true Apple man.

.....
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Great: more gimmicky features, and more complexity.

I WANT CHEAP WIRELESS SIMPLICITY. Still no company provides this. Heck, if you forget about price we're still at a loss. I don't need mood lighting, I don't need colours (I actually deliberately don't want colours, even if it costs zero to add them. Read: simplicity not complexity), I don't need music-sensitive lighting, I don't need gimmicks, I barely need any features at all.

Here's what I want in a wireless lighting system: Wifi, every bulb should have master capable hardware (i.e. there should be no master bulb. Read: simplicity not complexity), simple, well design software, setting up a new bulb should be just about as easy as putting in a regular bulb, physical light switches should still work as expected (software should allow for this), even setting up the first bulb you buy just after downloading the app should be up and running in 15 seconds with no geek required (it literally should be a case of popping in the bulb opening the app and typing in your wifi password), no base station hardware (comically called a bridge), the bulb should be the only hardware, just like the current solution.

The first company to provide this has my business. End of discussion. I've seen all the solutions out there, including LifX: they all suck!

 

Should? Why?

post #18 of 29
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
Spoken like a true Apple man.

 

I'll reply to your point: No bulb should have 'master' capability. All bulbs should be as stupid as humanly possible.

 

1. I don't want to waste money on "smart" bulbs.

2. The more tech in a bulb, the more tech is thrown away. We'll already have to uproot all of our landfills in 40 years, digging for that one last scrap of hafnium and any of the other metals used in computing out of which we're about to run; let's not make that day come any sooner.

3. The more tech in a bulb, the more complex the network. Idiots have to use this, remember. Rather, idiots are the target market for these; let's make it usable for them.

 

Replace the switch on the wall with an intelligent and precise system. That's how you do it. Buying stupid bulbs controlled intelligently is the way to go, and have it integrated with everything else.

 

I can imagine an Apple-based system like this. Your friend comes over to AirPlay a movie to your Apple TV. As the movie loads, the lights in that room dim or shut off entirely, based on your setting. Pause it, they come back up.

 

In general use, you could even set it to turn lights on and off as you walk through the house carrying your iDevice.

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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'll reply to your point: No bulb should have 'master' capability. All bulbs should be as stupid as humanly possible.

1. I don't want to waste money on "smart" bulbs.
2. The more tech in a bulb, the more tech is thrown away. We'll already have to uproot all of our landfills in 40 years, digging for that one last scrap of hafnium and any of the other metals used in computing out of which we're about to run; let's not make that day come any sooner.
3. The more tech in a bulb, the more complex the network. Idiots have to use this, remember. Rather, idiots are the target market for these; let's make it usable for them.

Replace the switch on the wall with an intelligent and precise system. That's how you do it. Buying stupid bulbs controlled intelligently is the way to go, and have it integrated with everything else.

I can imagine an Apple-based system like this. Your friend comes over to AirPlay a movie to your Apple TV. As the movie loads, the lights in that room dim or shut off entirely, based on your setting. Pause it, they come back up.

In general use, you could even set it to turn lights on and off as you walk through the house carrying your iDevice.

What the hell are you talking about?
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post #20 of 29

This tech is now available.  The pricing that would include all of the features that you desire is still in the $150-$200 range.  However, once you have the 'base unit' in place, individual light bulbs are (relatively) inexpensive.  I'm referring to INSTEON technology.  Google INSTEON LED bulb and you'll find it.  It needs a hub in order to be wi-fi enabled, but otherwise it will communicate thru the INSTEON wireless protocol.

 

You probably have already researched it, but I thought I'd send it your way anyways.

post #21 of 29
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
What the hell are you talking about?

 

Smart bulbs. Why, what're you talking about?

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post #22 of 29

okay how long before there is an app for people in Colorado or Washington that controls their lighting based on their, um, "mood"

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Smart bulbs. Why, what're you talking about?

Yes, but in relation to my comment you replied to? And why all the rambling about landfills, etc.?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #24 of 29
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
Yes, but in relation to my comment you replied to? And why all the rambling about landfills, etc.?

 

Whoop, quoted the wrong one. The post of yours quoted in the post below the post that replied to the post of yours that I quoted. The big one.

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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


Here's what I want in a wireless lighting system: Wifi, every bulb should have master capable hardware (i.e. there should be no master bulb. Read: simplicity not complexity), simple, well design software, setting up a new bulb should be just about as easy as putting in a regular bulb, physical light switches should still work as expected (software should allow for this), even setting up the first bulb you buy just after downloading the app should be up and running in 15 seconds with no geek required (it literally should be a case of popping in the bulb opening the app and typing in your wifi password), no base station hardware (comically called a bridge), the bulb should be the only hardware, just like the current solution.

The first company to provide this has my business. End of discussion. I've seen all the solutions out there, including LifX: they all suck!

 

The problem you'll run into with no master hardware is more complex initial setup.  Having the bulb talk to a dedicated repeater that connects to your network is the simplest of all solutions. It has all the brains.  Imagine if you had to enter a WIFI password into each bulb before you use it.  And how are you going to do that again??

 

Making the physical light switches work with the bulb without any changes couldn't happen unless a battery was included in the bulb. Turning off the light switch cuts power to the bulb. Unless you go to the switch and turn it on, you've just lost remote control capabilities. Now, if you replace the light switches with smart switches, you can wire them so power goes to the light all the time, and the switch is just a signal sender.  This technology is readily available and reliable, although at about $50 per switch, it's not what I'd consider 'cheap'  But they to use a bridge to connect.  A bridge is definitely the right way to handle this, as WIFI technology is changing faster than you'd want to replace all of the lighting electronics in your house.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


This is closer to what I'm looking for, but not there. I particularly like the option of purchasing white bulbs. And obviously the price is appealing. $16 for a white bulb. This is a good starting price for this relatively new tech. The existence of the bridge sucks, however. And I don't want to hear someone saying it's not possible without a bridge. LifX (a product I'm not fond of for other reasons) has no bridge hardware.

But sadly it's around $100 to get a starter kit shipped to Ireland, which essentially consists of 2 bulbs. I don't count the bridge for reasons I've stated, and I would use the app.

Check out what happens if I order 1 white Limitless bulb:
 

 

 

1) The bridge is only necessary if you want to use the app.

With their $7 remote, you can directly control up to four groups of light bulbs, each with up to 100 bulbs. 

You can use as few or as many remotes as you want, and you can control the same bulbs with different remotes.

It takes 3 seconds to program each bulb to a remote - much simpler than configuring the bridge by dicking around with IP addresses and passwords and firewalls.

Personally I find it ridiculous to have to unlock my phone and open an app every time I want to change the lighting.

A dedicated remote makes much more sense.

 

 

2) Shipping is from New Zealand, so yes it's expensive, but...

The trick is to buy a larger quantity. If you calculate how many bulbs you need for your home and only order bulbs and remotes without any bridges or starter kits, the overall cost per bulb will still be much cheaper than the Phillips option.

 

 

3) The white bulbs are better than the RGB bulbs

because the colored ones aren't as bright. Anyway, I consider the colored versions a gimmick.

Also, the remotes let you control the white bulbs' brightness and color temperature (warm to cool.)

 

 

 

.


Edited by freediverx - 5/16/13 at 3:31am
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

At $60 a bulb, and they claim it's selling, I guess someone has to have their gadgets. There's always a niche market for something. I only want warm white.

I still haven't bought an bulb replacement style LED light, it seems too much more money for too little of an improvement. I've retrofit fixtures for linear fluorescent bulbs to LED for not much more than the cost of replacing the bulbs and ballasts, which they needed anyway.

 

There are cheaper alternatives available to the Phillips bulbs, and I think the ability to control the lights via a remote is a pretty substantial improvement.

post #28 of 29
- Edited due to not seeing all comments in this thread on the original story.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Jojade View Post

The problem you'll run into with no master hardware is more complex initial setup.  Having the bulb talk to a dedicated repeater that connects to your network is the simplest of all solutions. It has all the brains.  Imagine if you had to enter a WIFI password into each bulb before you use it.  And how are you going to do that again??

Making the physical light switches work with the bulb without any changes couldn't happen unless a battery was included in the bulb. Turning off the light switch cuts power to the bulb. Unless you go to the switch and turn it on, you've just lost remote control capabilities. Now, if you replace the light switches with smart switches, you can wire them so power goes to the light all the time, and the switch is just a signal sender.  This technology is readily available and reliable, although at about $50 per switch, it's not what I'd consider 'cheap'  But they to use a bridge to connect.  A bridge is definitely the right way to handle this, as WIFI technology is changing faster than you'd want to replace all of the lighting electronics in your house.

The switch could have an electronically controlled solenoid to keep its manual functionality. No batteries needed. Like how your car locks might have manual and remote control abilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freediverx View Post

There are cheaper alternatives available to the Phillips bulbs, and I think the ability to control the lights via a remote is a pretty substantial improvement.

I much prefer Tallest's suggestion of making the switch smarter, a switch with WiFi or BlueTooth control means you don't have to throw away those wireless circuits when the bulb goes bad. There's enough circuitry in some of the "dumb" bulbs as it is. A smart switch would cost a lot less than all the smart bulbs you have to run on the circuit. To have each bulb independently controlled and particularly independently color adjustable on a wireless network is (I think) of dubious value.
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