One of the easiest ways you can give your house the look and feel of a smart home is by replacing your light bulbs with something a bit more impressive.
Philips hue is an advanced lighting system that’s practical and fun – and it’s really easy to set up and use. It gives you the power to control the lighting in your home from your mobile device, and change the colours and brightness to suit your mood.
You can also use it to set up some really clever, automated tasks, like switching lights on at night – even when you’re not at home. Let’s take a closer look at what hue is all about.
HOW DO I SET UP HUE LIGHTING?
To get yourself up and running you’ll need the hue starter set, which consists of three hue light bulbs and a bridge (base station). You’ll also need to download the free hue app to your iOS, Android or Windows device.
The light bulbs are fully customisable, and you can create up to 16 million colours by combining the three coloured LEDs (green, red and blue) inside each one.
The bridge basically lets your mobile app speak to your light bulbs. It links to Wi-Fi via your router, and this gives you the power to control your lights remotely, or link them to real-time events.
Getting it all set up is as easy as this:
• Screw your bulbs in and turn the light switch on.
• Power up your bridge and connect it to your Wi-Fi router.
• Download your free app, connect it to the bridge and name your bulbs.
That’s all there is to it – you now have hue!
WHAT CAN HUE LIGHTING DO?
You can now give your home the exact type of lighting you want, at any time of day or night. You can do this manually with the mobile app, or you can choose from these pre-selectedhuetemplates:
Reading– Not too bright, not too dark. The ideal light level for reading, in fact.
Relax– A soothing glow to help you chill out after a hectic day.
Concentrate– A carefully crafted combo of colour and brightness to help you focus.
Energise– Vibrant lighting for an energy boost. The double espresso of lighting schemes.
Hue can also help with your home security. If you’re not at home in the evenings you can set your lighting to come on automatically, at different times if you wish. Even if you forget to programme your lights, you can do it remotely with your mobile app.
Plus, with the help of GPS, hue can welcome you back home. Simply set your lights to turn on to your favourite setting as soon as you walk up to your front door.
WHAT IF I WANT MORE IDEAS?
IF (If That Then This) is a great app that lets you assign actions to events and create ‘recipes’. The options are endless, and the only limit is your imagination. For example:
• If your football team scores a goal,huelights up in celebration.
• If your phone rings,hueflashes along with it.
• If your dinner’s ready to come out the oven,huegives you a red reminder.
• If it’s about to rain,hueturns blue to warn you.
• If it’s a Sunday morning,huelights up gently. Is 11am good for you?
There are lots of other hue apps to choose from. Fans of bad movies – and we mean really bad movies – will be delighted to know that Sharknado 2 has been entirely choreographed with hue; so your lights dim, flicker and change colour to match the onscreen action. It’s very impressive. The lighting, that is, not the movie.
AND THERE’S MORE…
The Philips hue starter kit is available from Currys, and you can easily extend and improve it. You can add 50 bulbs to the bridge, and hue table lamps, striplights and 3D printed lamps are also available. The 3D printed lamps retail for around £2,000 though, so you won’t be seeing them lighting up The Lowdown offices any time soon.
And finally, if you’re annoyed by the fact that your mobile device isn’t always available (if it’s charging, or if the kids have managed to get their hands on it), then you might find hue Tap useful – it’s a smart switch for your hue lighting system that’s wireless and portable. You can take it with you around the home, or mount it in a convenient spot.
How does hue sound to you? Would you consider getting it for your home? If you have hue already, let us know what you think of it – and please feel free to share your favourite custom-made lighting schemes.