Still on my Want list and even more now! Yesterday evening, Philips announced a number of innovations making its Philips Hue - the world's smartest connected LED lighting system – even more intelligent, convenient and accessible to homes across the world. These updates reflect valued feedback from the growing community of Hue enthusiasts and developers worldwide. The next generation of the Hue app (version 1.1 - currently only available for iOS, the Android update is still outstanding) can now hook up to your essential internet services via your smartphone or tablet, meaning your bulbs can act as indicators for weather, stock quotes, sports scores, E-Mail, social media and more. They can be set to behave in any way you choose.
For example, to change color if it's going to rain; to blink if you receive an urgent E-Mail, Facebook message from someone special; illuminate gradually as the sun sets; or even flash in your sports team's colors when they score. This is made possible through internet automating service, IFTTT (If This Then That), meaning your home lighting can now connect to the world in innumerable, exciting new ways.
App v1.1 is the first upgrade to Hue's future-proof system and will be delivered to existing users via a simple-to-download software update. Its new "geofencing" feature means your smartphone or tablet can detect when you or your family are approaching or leaving home and trigger Hue's bulbs to turn on/off automatically, change color or light setting – all without having to even take your phone out of your pocket.
The recurring alarms feature means you can program Hue to enhance your family's daily routine and create settings for activities such as waking up, homework or bedtime - without the need to reset each day. If you go on holiday, the timer function can be set to turn lights on and off at random times while you're away to give you peace of mind.
Developers are also excited about the possibilities to extend Hue's capabilities with new applications and integration with other products and services. Since Philips published Hue's open APIs and software developers' kit (developers.meethue.com) on 11th March, over thirty new apps have already hit the market. Some of these allow Hue's smart bulbs to coordinate with music and album art, visualize your heart rate for home workouts, assist in planetary study, respond to spoken commands, and synchronize with television screens for an ambient, immersive viewing experience.
Using the ZigBee LightLink standard, Hue bulbs can not only communicate with each other, they have the potential for communicating with other ZigBee-based devices such as motion sensors and home thermostats, while offering a broad signal range and using significantly less stand-by power than traditional Wi-Fi systems. Additional apps developed for Hue are available through app stores or meetHue.com, allowing users new ways to further enhance their lighting experiences and lives. Further innovations such as new Hue bulb types are also due to be announced later this year.
Building on its commitment to unleash the possibilities of connected lighting to the world, Philips is expanding availability of Hue via a new retail partners and to new markets including Australia and New Zealand, all of the EU and some Eastern European countries starting this month. In addition to availability at Apple stores and Apple.com, Hue will also roll-out across a network of 550 approved Apple resellers across Europe and at Amazon.com in the United States.
Cheers ~ Arne