From helping a father get more rest to- syncing lights with texts, email alerts and even a display, Philips Hue has you covered. I’ve used it for almost anything I can think of, and still after a few years- stand by this product. Lately I’ve been hooked on working to improve my own sleep-cycle and have tried manual scenes to an app-driven experience from the makers of F.lux. If you are debating on picking out a Smart Home Lighting system that is literally plug-and-play with little fussing around and great wireless reliability, then this system is no exception.
Simply put- Philips hue is the most versatile, out-of-the-box ready, and fuss-free lighting systems out there. It uses wireless technology as well as a hub, so reliability is amazing. Their app is extremely intuitive and user-friendly, as-well-as compatible with a variety of pivotal Smart Home products like Logitech Harmony, SmartThings, Nest, and so much more. It also works with Alexa, Google Home, Homekit and Cortana for voice-control. You can check out their storefront for the whole product line on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2T4MQC0
A few important points to consider before buying Philips Hue:
• You need a hub. More information below and also here: https://amzn.to/2RM2Vzr
*You Can Buy as standalone or in a kit – much cheaper if included in a starter kit hint, hint…
Why??? Reliability is at stake here, and you need a bulb that isn’t conflicting with other wireless things in the house or else you’ll get a nasty effect called “popcorn” at times. Where lights start popping on randomly after you flipped the switch seconds-to-minutes earlier. Wireless interference can be at play- so a low-frequency wireless technology is needed. This is why you need a hub, because your router cannot speak directly to these bulbs (as opposed to wifi bulbs like LIFX). Ever wonder why there’s bluetooth and not wifi for wireless headphones? It gets technical, but simply put- bluetooth is a better candidate for certain things. Just like Zigbee or Z-wave is a better candidate for certain things with Smart Home. Philips Hue primarily uses the Zigbee platform. So you need a Philips Hue hub or some other form of Zigbee hub, but I much rather prefer just simply using the Philips Hue hub as it makes everything simpler, and you can get more than one if you have a gigantic house… I’ve never needed more than one before except for when I needed one for my home and my companion needed one for her home.
You probably also want some switches, dimmers and even motion control:
Philips already has great switches and motion contol sensors. Additionally, everything is literally plug and play and super easy to setup or add-on to your home later on. Just something to keep in mind. I love the Tap switch 1st gen and the wireless dimmer switch. You can do so much with them- and I highly recommend thinking about adding these to your order. The motion sensor is great for things like a garage, or a closet. It also can be set to dim the light at night so it is less brutal on the eye-adjusting!
• You may just want the white bulbs or the color bulbs, or both:
Color is great for certain mood and scene lighting experiences. However, sometimes you only need white or just a basic set of ambiences. This is something to consider as well, because it can get very costly if your whole house is going to use color bulbs- as they cost nearly triple what a white LED bulb costs (although this may affect using night and circadian rhythm lighting experiences mentioned below). You can buy a hub with your bulbs and skip buying the hub by itself as shown above in both the white and color kits.
• Will I need cabinet and garden lighting as well?
Philips hue has such a huge product line, these are things to consider for backlighting behind a TV, cabinetry lighting as-well-as outdoor lighting. I say this because you may want to see all that is offered, because if something is a deal-breaker, you don’t want to invest and go all-in and find out later that the landscape lighting doesn’t suit your needs. Just something to consider.
• What Smart Home System do you already have?
You may want to see if it has an integration with Philips Hue. You’d really regret buying a Zigbee-based lighting system that doesn’t have combability with a Z-wave hub like Nexia for instance. Especially if you want to get into the rich-experiences that Smart Home has to offer- by using things like IFTTT and rule-based triggers and such for a security system, message alerts, and specific scenes that are triggered by certain presets. There’s a lot that can go into it, but at a bare minimum- it makes things easier to have one app that wraps all smart home products under it, or at least integrations to be able to piggyback off that app. Some things aren’t directly integrated with Alexa for instance, but work with SmartThings, and since SmartThings integrates with Alexa- it enables things that wouldn’t otherwise work with Alexa, work… Because it is “piggybacking” off of SmartThings.
In Summary of Points To Consider:
A lot of thought goes into all of this- but that’s really the essential ingredients to good planning and preparation. I’ve had the SAME EXACT smart home products and system for the last 4 years. I haven’t needed to change a thing, and I moved and took it all with me. Everything in my house is automated, even my barbecue if I want to pre-heat it… I took it all apart, kept my settings the same and the router the same and just moved. Everything at my new home is automated and voice activated… Except for my water heater, plumbing and refrigerator… That’s pretty crazy, right?
I’ve tested out dozens of hubs and hundreds of products- and I stand by Philips Hue lighting. I wanted to share this insight with you as well because it really is best to pay a little extra, as it goes a long way in the future. I have first gen bulbs, a second gen hub and haven’t had to change a thing. Trust me when I say that I’m looking out for you through the thousands of hours of trial and error I had to do- to get to where I am today!
Additional Features and Ideas:
First off – it has a wide range of compatibility with voice-control integrations, especially the mainstream platforms – Cortana, Google Home, Alexa and Siri/Homekit:
Image Source: https://www2.meethue.com/en-us/friends-of-hue
That’s not all Philips Hue is useful for – A father mentions that it helps his child’s sleeping habits and his own as well:
“I scheduled the light to turn from orange, our nighttime tint, to green, every morning at 6:30 am. Next, I explained to my son that he had to stay in bed until the light turned green. We made a game of it, giving him stickers every time he was able to wait out the light. And stickers, in this house, are like cigarettes in prison. Quoting Vince Vaughn in Swingers, “They’re money, baby.” Source:https://www.fatherly.com/gear/how-i-used-smart-lights-to-make-my-toddler-stay-in-bed/
Alerts via motion, texts, emails and more:
“The App IFTTT ( If This Then That) app, along with other automation systems can alert users that someone has come through a certain door or someone has entered a less monitored area such as the garage or conservatory.” Source:https://huehomelighting.com/cool-things-for-philips-hue-lights/
HueSync – sync your lights with your computer.
I myself am guilty of taking advantage of this feature. I have went all the way with it- using the Xbox Streaming feature to play video games on my home network to my computer and using HueSync with it, is… Unparalleled. It is probably one of my favorite features to show off and use. Careful though- because it has been noted to cause a lot of distractions while watching movies, so I stick to gameplay and a cool entertainment experience and not so much for movies myself.
Source & Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxuwjiLcdTM
You can also use it with other apps other than HueSync. “The Hue lights can make watching a movie or an exciting series very special, on the Appstore the Hue Camera App can use the devices camera to pick up colors from the TV and change the color of the Hue light to match the atmosphere.” Source:https://huehomelighting.com/cool-things-for-philips-hue-lights/
Sleep Cycle & Circadian Rhythm:
If you’re a health nut and also a smart home junkie. Do you believe in circadian rythms and a healthy day and sleep cycle? If you’ve read books like Lights Out, The Circadian Code, etc… You’d understand the importance of lighting and your natural rhythm and promoting a healthier lifestyle. Smart Home is no exception to living a healthier lifestyle, although the trick is- you have to know how to harness it. If you have or you haven’t heard of the program called “F.lux,” then you’re in luck! You can check out the app here: https://justgetflux.com/lighting/ and make sure to donate and contribute to the creators via here: https://justgetflux.com/promo/paypal2.html
Image Source: https://justgetflux.com/lighting/
*F.lux is a must-have app if you are sensitive to blue light and nightime lighting with sleep cycles.
Image Source from Article: https://www.howtogeek.com/199303/reduce-eye-strain-and-get-better-sleep-by-using-f.lux-on-your-computer/
Don’t have or want a Smart Home? Get Scene Switch by Philips:
Additionally, if you don’t have or want hue and don’t want to mess with apps and are an analog type of person. You can accomplish this with a product line known as Scene Switch by Philips…For those without Philips Hue – you can still use Scene Switch and it doesn’t require a hub, and is less versatile as you can only change the colors when flipping the switch on or off. I had to throw this one in here as an alternative:
“You can’t program Philips latest LED light bulb, but you can easily change the color it produces—and you won’t even need to whip out your smartphone. The SceneSwitch is a 60-watt-equivalent, white-only LED bulb that’s capable of producing three color temperatures at the flip of a switch…” Source: https://www.techhive.com/article/3136223/lighting/philips-sceneswitch-review-it-s-not-a-smart-bulb-but-it-is-pretty-clever.html
Well, I hope this helped you make the right choice or learn a bit more about Smart Home lighting. All of the Smart Home lighting out there usually is wireless now, as it’s much easier to do a plug-and-play setup and much more versatile. There are systems that are wired like Legrand, Insteon, Lutron and more- but having to do the wiring can get a bit risky and costly with an electrician. Now, with advances in this low-frequency wireless technology, it is more reliable than ever, and so easy to setup!
If not Philips Hue, other products I’d recommend would be Lutron Caseta, LIFX, or Sengled- although if you want all the best features, stick to Philips Hue. Keep in mind it’s not about the products, it’s all about what solutions you are looking for, and the compatibility and features you are trying to solve- by asking the right questions, at the start. Plan ahead and purchase wisely, as I just want to help! Enjoy!