5 Star Service
The Philips Hue and Nest products are very popular as stand alone smart systems. But they have been designed to work very well together using their 'cloud services'. This guide shows how to have Nest and Philips Hue working together.
Firstly, what do we mean by 'Cloud Services'. The Philips Hue system has a physical hub (called the Bridge) that connects to your home network system allowing you to control the Hue lights from a smartphone. The Nest devices don't have a hub but they do connect wirelessly to your Wi-Fi system. The two systems can't be physically connected together, but they can communicate via the Nest loud servers. This means that the Nest devices, such as the Protect (Smoke and CO alarm) and the Nest Cam can control the Hue lights when specific things happen. So for instance if smoke is detected, the Nest Protect will send a message to the Nest cloud server, this is then sent back down to your home to the Philips Hue Bridge, which then controls the lights.
The nice thing about cloud services is they are very quick and easy to implement as other people have done the hard work for you. But they do need an Internet connection.
There are two basic routes you can use to get the Nest and Hue systems working together - both quite painless. The first has been implemented by Philips themselves and gives you a quick and simple connection between the two systems. The second, is the original way by using IFTTT - this is much more flexible, but is slightly slower due to latency between the two cloud servers.
The Philips is a certified "Works with Nest" partner. This program aims to enable certified systems to integrate with Nest very quickly and easily - with as few button clicks as possible. In the case of Hue, the reality is as good as the promises. All you do is go to the Nest Meets Hue website, login to your Hue system and then authorise it to work with your Nest system. The process has nicely scripted, easy to follow steps and takes a couple of minutes - and it just works!
Once connected you can use any of the Nest products to trigger the Hue lighting. You can have the heating turn off when you leave the house, and at the same time Nest will turn all your lights off. If the Protect detects smoke, it can turn the lights on and you can even select different colours for different events - so you could have the lights turn red if CO is detected. There are a few scenarios that you can test when you are setting it up - each one allows you to test the effect on the Hue, so you don't have to wait for the Nest devices to trigger it for testing.
In practise, this is easy to implement and use. There will be a slight delay having these messages bounce up to the cloud, get translated and come down the other side. But for the things the Nest devices are triggering such as smoke, CO, or motion, the delay is almost imperceptible, you never notice it.
So for simplicity, "Nest meet Hue" is the obvious route to take.
If you want more flexibility, and to be able to build your own rules and relationships, IFTTT gives you everything you need. If you've not come across IFTTT, it's well worth a look. IFTTT stands for IF This Then That - it's a cloud based system that can use input from various 'channels' and make something else happen based on the input. Both Nest and Hue have channels available on IFTTT and there are lots of 'recipes' available (31 at the moment) to quickly make them work together - turn the lights on when the thermostat sees you've arrived home, blink the Hue lights if smoke is detected... And you can create your own recipes, not just with Nest and Hue, but with all manner of things, even Gmail and Twitter.
In practise, IFTTT works OK, and has a huge amount of flexibility. Sometimes things happen more slowly than you'd like and this is an inherent weakness with IFTTT. They have an official latency of up to 15 minutes, so it can take anywhere between a few seconds to 15 minutes for the IF to be seen and the TTT to be actioned and sent down the pipe to your system. Mostly these happen fairly quickly, and for the things Hue and Nest would be used for are fine.