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Home Automation Lighting - Philips Hue

Inteligent Lighting with Philips Hue

The Philips Hue system is probably the easiest way to add smart control to your lighting - it doesn't get much simpler than changing a light bulb!

The Philips Hue is a range of wireless LEDs - as the name suggests these are wireless controlled RGB LEDs that allow you to set them to all the colours in the rainbow. That's where they came from, but since then, Philips has also introduced pure white versions - and at £15 each, they're the cheapest wireless LEDs on the market. Add to that some cool accessories like the wireless, battery-less wall switch (yes, no batteries, it generates it's own power from the button press), RGB Strips and wall washers and you have an incredible range of lighting products that just work.

What Philips Hue Offers

The Philips Hue range offers simple, easy to install, easy to use Smart Lighting that gives a WOW! factor to any room's lighting.

Easy of Use

It really is as simple as changing a light bulb!

First configuration works out of the box, the Hue Bridge finds the new LEDs, and any other HUE devices you have, and in a couple of minutes you're in business, ready to use it. You can drive everything from the Smartphone app, including adding new devices, creating scenes, moods and timers, as well as controlling individual or groups of LEDs. All very easy.

Control at your Fingertips

All the Philips Hue lights can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet - giving you fingertip control of all your lights. You can also use handheld or wall remote controls for more conventional control if you prefer.

Programmable - Scenes and Schedules

Scenes allow you to control a number of Philips Hue devices all as one group. The scene can set different Hue lights to different brightness levels and some devices On and others Off. So a movie mood could change the lighting so the main room lights turn off and the table lamps dim down to 20%. Schedules add an extra refinement enabling things to happen at particular times. Scenes and Schedules are easily programmed in seconds on the Hue smartphone/tablet app.

Extendable #1 - make Hue do more

Philips were very clever, they created and published a nice, simple API that's fully documented and open for anyone to use. What this means in real life is that you can make Philips Hue do almost anything you like. Simple things like making the Tap Wall switch do more than just trigger scenes are easy to accomplish. You can see how in our Philips Hue Application Guide section.

Extendable #2 - Hue works with other systems

Going further, Hue can be fully integrated into your existing home automation systems - Z-Wave, ZigBee, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Homekit, Fibaro, VERA, SmartThings etc.

  • Z-Wave - all the Z-Wave controllers from Fibaro, VERA, nCube, and SmartThings have plugins that allow easy integration of Philips Hue. More information is shown in our Using Z-Wave with Philips Hue guide.
  • Amazon Alexa - Hue is supported out of the box on Alexa - just ask it to search for your Hue devices.
  • Apple Homekit - Hue is Homekit enabled and works easily within the iOS 'Home' app.
  • Google Home - Hue works directly with Google Home - it only takes a few seconds to set-up.

Philips Hue Products

The core products are the LEDs, but the full range covers so many more products. You can take a look at the Full Philips Hue range.

Philips HUE RGB LEDs V3

These are what bought Philips Hue to most peoples attention. The "Hue White and Ambiance" gives variable whites, from cool to warm, as well as the rainbow hue colours. You can use them together with the Hue Bridge, where you will be able to the colour and brightness your smartphone or from scenes. They are available separately or as part of a Starter Kit - three Hue bulbs plus the Hue Bridge for the same price as three Hue bulbs. Available in four different fitting types B22 (Bayonet), E27 (Screw), E14 (Screw), and GU10.

Philips Hue White Ambiance

The Hue White Ambience LEDs are white only but allow you to change the white colour temperature from very warm (2200K) to very cool (6500K). This means you can tune the white light you need for particular rooms, or even times of the day. You can start with a warm light in the morning, change it to a cool light if you're reading a book and back to a more neutral colour when watching TV.

Philips Hue White v2

These are white only and give a nice warm white LED light with plenty of brightness (750 lumens). Their brightness can be controlled from the smartphone app or with scenes. At less than £15 each these are the cheapest wireless LEDs on the market, add that to the power of Hue and you're really rolling.

Philips Hue Bridge v3

This is the heart of making the Hue system smart. The Hue Bridge connects to your home network with an Ethernet cable and then allows you to control everything from your smartphone. The bridge runs all scenes and schedules and allows other systems to communicate with it using the API. The latest, version 3, also adds Apple Homekit support. Most people buy the Bridge as part of a starter kit (that way you get it for free), but if you have another version or want to use a second bridge in your system we have it available separately.

Philips Hue TAP

This is a cool wall switch - wireless and battery-less, it generates it's own electricity from the button press. It can be mounted on the wall and with a quick twist can be carried around like a normal handheld remote. The four buttons can be used to each control a scene. But that's not all, even though most people think that's all it can do. If you use the API you can make each button do multiple things depending on how many times you press it. I have mine working as toggle switches so that can directly turn a Hue LED On and Off, or turn a scene On and then off with each click of the button. We'll have a guide to show you how to do this in the next couple of weeks.

Philips Hue Dimmer Switch

This is a very new device, it's a more conventional handheld remote - battery powered this time, but it can be easily used to control the brightness of any Hue LED. And, just like the TAP, you can extend it's functionality way beyond what it's advertised to do. Stick with us and we'll show you how.

Philips Hue Motion Sensor

Add motion sensing to your Hue lighting so that your rooms light-up automatically. The Hue Motion Sensor is battery powered so can be positioned anywhere, it also has a light sensor so your lights only operate when they need to.

Philips Hue LightStrip Plus

This is the Hue equivalent of a traditional RGWB LED strip, but it has that extra Hue wireless goodness already sewn in. So you just add it to your Hue system and you have wireless control of its colours and brightness. The Hue Lightstrip is 2m long and includes the power supply and Hue wireless capability. You can extend it a further 1m by using the Hue Lightstrip Extension Pack.

Philips Hue Accessories

As well as the main Hue components there are a bunch of accessories and alternative lighting products - all work within the Hue system. Take a look at the full Philips Hue range

If you're new to home automation or just want simple but effective lighting control, then the Philips Hue range is a good place to start.

Copyright Vesternet 2017

Updated: 21/11/2017

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