Smart Home Starter Series: Connected lights

Smart Home Starter Series: Connected lights

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We now live in a world where phones are no longer the only things that are ‘smart’ and offer efficiency and convenience for our daily lives. From smartphones, there came smart devices like watches and other wearables, smart vehicles that no longer require its own driver, and smart homes as well.

For your house to be called a smart home, it should have an automation system that lets you control lighting, climate, appliances, and other home devices. In addition to our Smart Home Starter Series: Smart speakers feature, we’re now going to take a look at connected lights — specifically the Philips Hue lineup.

What is Philips Hue?

So what is Hue and what makes it something you’d want to consider for your connected light setup? Philips describes it as your personal wireless lighting system with an emphasis on being personal. This is because most of their lighting products can change its color — hence, its name — from different temperatures of white (warm or cold) and a full array of color right at your fingertips.

smart home

Although there are newer models that connect via Bluetooth, what we’re specifically using are lights that are linked to our router through the Hue Bridge and are controlled by an app. Through this, you can set the color of a specific light, change its shade, and even control how bright you want it to be.

The Philips Hue has an array of lighting types from standalone bulbs, light strips, indoor fixtures, and even outdoor lamps. They also have accessories that further make a convenient setup like Wi-Fi-enabled wall switches and motion sensors that automatically activate lights when you enter a room, for example.

Additionally, Philips Hue bulbs can go up to 800 lumens at its brightest setting which is enough to easily illuminate a standard-sized room measuring around 20 square meters.

Applications of Philips Hue

More than just being able to change the colors of your lights through your phone, Philips Hue can also be accessed through voice commands since it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. Just add Hue to the list on your smart speaker or smartphone and you’ll be able to say something like, “Hey Google, change the kitchen lights to bright white” or “Hey Google, set bedroom color to deep red” and it will do so right away.

This alone already cuts time when you need to change the light color or crank up the brightness and your hands are busy. Additionally, you can schedule your lights when it will turn on/off and set daily routines so you don’t accidentally leave any lights turned on and save up on electricity bills.

The Hue can also be set in a way that it detects when you’re almost home and turns on pre-set lights so you no longer have to fumble in the dark as you get out of your shoes or something.

And if you want to squeeze more out of Hue, there are a number of third-party apps that are compatible and safe to use. These allow more features like syncing your lights to music, mirroring the colors of what’s on your TV to your lights, and more.

Connected lights for your smart home?

The mere fact that you’re reading this article and you reach this part means you’re really contemplating on starting your smart home or are really interested with color-changing lights. If you find yourself agreeing to any one of those and you have funds ready. By all means, go for it and get some.

My wife and I have been using Philips Hue for almost three years now and we can say it’s been reliable so far with no hiccups. The ability to change lights from bright whites for working to more subdued, funky vibes when you have friends over is in itself a great novelty to have in your home.

It looks cool, gives accent to any part of the room, and is convenient to use. It’s even a conversation starter and impresses friends when they see it change colors so that’s another plus. Additionally, the Hue tends to satisfy the geek in each one of us through what it offers.

So if you’re really keen on setting up a smart home, then having connected lights are a must. And when it comes to Wi-Fi-enabled lights, Philips Hue is one of the top names you should consider.

Of course, there are also alternatives…