SOMERSET, NJ – Philips today launched the next generation application for the Hue lighting system, allowing consumers to control their light bulbs using a smartphone or tablet with even more flexibility, depth and breadth than before. The new Philips Hue channel on IFTTT (If This Then That) enables the Hue system access to any application programming interface (API) on the Internet, allowing Hue smart bulbs to act as informational gateways and visual cues for updates on weather, stock quotes, sports scores, email, social media and more.
Other features in V1.1 of the system include geofencing and “recurring schedules” – both of which were added to the feature set in response to user feedback collected since Hue launched last fall. Geofencing approximates the managing device’s location and controls lights as a user’s smartphone or tablet approaches or leaves the home. In this way, lights can automatically turn on or change settings as a Hue user arrives home or the bulbs can shut down as a homeowner walks out the front door – all without the user even having to take their smartphone out of their pocket.
With the recurring schedules addition, Hue enthusiasts can now calendarize popular timer settings so that repetitive, daily behaviors in the home, like waking up and going to sleep, are supported and enhanced by Hue without having to reset them each day. The timer function can now also be set to “randomize” lights so that they turn on and off organically at unexpected times when an owner is away from home for extended periods, adding another level of security.
A new “synchronous scenes” feature works in the background to assure that large batches of Hue bulbs change scenes in a smooth, immediate manner. Pre-set scenes are now stored in the bulbs themselves, eliminating a “wave” or domino effect that can currently occur as the bulbs relay a command among multiple bulbs throughout a home.
“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 meethue.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.”
Just last month Philips published Hue’s open APIs and released related guides and libraries in an iOS software developers’ kit (SDK), reinforcing its commitment to helping the developer community and the end user leverage Hue to its full potential. In fact, since publishing Hue’s open APIs on March 11, dozens of new apps have already hit the market. Some of these new apps now instruct the bulbs to coordinate with music and album art, adjust according to a person’s biorhythms, assist in planetary study, respond to spoken commands, and synchronize with television screens for an ambient, immersive viewing experience.
Combine this recent proliferation of SDK-inspired apps with the new IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” without the “g”) partnership and the evolution of Hue apps is expected to continue at a steady pace. Like the current capacity for users to share “Light Recipes” or “scenes” at meethue.com, IFTTT will make new API “Recipes” and apps possible that can prompt a user’s bulbs to behave in specific ways based on predetermined “Triggers” and resulting “Actions.” For example, a Hue bulb may be set to change color if it is going to rain or start blinking if the user has received an urgent email.
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. Software updates for the bulbs like those announced today are done automatically via the bridge and the bulbs themselves, and additional apps developed for the system are available through app stores or meetHue.com, making it easy and intuitive for users to update Hue with applications and functionality that will enhance their lighting experience.
Current iOS Hue users will be prompted by their hand held device to accept the update or can visit www.meethue.com for more information, with updates to Android and Kindle devices coming this month. Hue starter kits comprising three bulbs and a Smartbridge are available at Apple stores and Amazon. Additional bulbs can also be purchased for $59.
For more information about Philips Hue and its capabilities visit www.meetHue.com.