May 15, 2013
Philips Brings More Functionality To Its Hue Light Bulb
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Philips´ intelligent LED light bulb named Hue has just been given an update. Now, Hue users can tie their bulbs to the IFTTT (If This Then That) service which turns a user´s Internet service into an actionable equation. The new Hue update also adds geofencing support, programmable alarms and timers, turning the LED bulb into just as much a notification system as it as a source of light. This update comes a little more than two months after Philips opened up the API to allow developers to write their own apps for the colorful bulb.
“We´re proud to bring the power of connected light to enhance people´s day-to-day lives. Through ongoing innovation, listening to users, supporting developers and joining forces with new partners, we´ll continue to push the boundaries, and put LED light at the center of connected homes,” he added.
With version 1.1 of the Hue software, the LED bulb now has geofencing capability. This means the bulbs are now able to recognize the user´s location and turn off and on automatically. This means that if a user with Hue bulbs installed in their house needs to run to the grocery store, they only need to grab their keys and phone and walk out the front door. Once the phone gets out of range of the network Hue is connected to, the bulbs will shut off. When this person returns, the bulbs will turn on again automatically.
For more automation options, Hue owners can set up alarms and timers which trigger the lights to turn on/off at set intervals and other points in the day. In an introductory video, a narrator suggests that Hue can be set to turn off every night and on again in the morning at set times, possibly ensuring Hue owners always wake up in time.
The bulb can also be programmed to turn off or even flash different colors on a timer. This can be especially helpful when baking or remembering to turn on the game at the right time. The color and dimming features of the Hue bulb can also be tied into the IFTTT service, thanks to version 1.1.
Just as the name implies, IFTTT can be used to create recipes to automate your life. For instance, a recipe can be created to send a text message to a certain number if the local forecast calls for rain. Hue is now a part of these automated solutions, meaning the bulb can act as a sort of notification center. Now if the forecast calls for rain, a user can have their Hue bulbs flash or change colors.
With this IFTTT integration, the Hue bulb can also alert users when they receive a message from Facebook, glow a different color when the rent is due, or even turn off if they receive an email from the office. A recipe has even been created which will flash the Hue bulb whenever a favorite sports team scores.
These updates are coming to the iOS version of Hue first, but will ship to Android and Kindle versions later this month. The Philips Hue starter kit is available now at Apple stores for $200 or $60 per bulb. In the statement, Philips once again mentions they plan to make the bulb available at Amazon.com and other retail partners in the States and in Europe.