On Oct. 30, Philips introduced hue, a Web-enabled LED home lighting system available exclusively to consumers through the Apple store. With the starter kit, which includes three LED bulbs that fit into any standard light fixture and a bridge that connects to existing wireless routers, and the downloadable hue app, the system can be controlled via any iOS or Android device.
According to Philips spokeswoman Silvie Casanova, engineers at the company discovered that they could web-enable a bulb a little over a year ago. They then came up with the four value propositions on which hue is based; security, biological effect, personalization and indication.
hue allows users to control their lights remotely; if they’re gone on vacation but want it to appear as if they’re home, all it takes is a few clicks.
hue also includes four pre-programmed light settings — relax, read, concentrate or energize —that adjust the bulbs to the optimum shade and brightness of white for each mood.
Users can personalize light settings with the system and can even relive a memory. “Imagine a sunset on a vacation,” Casanova says. “Just drag the (clicker) over the sunset in a photo and the bulb will try to recreate that light.”
Lastly, hue can provide indicators. The user can set it to wake him or her up with a gently increasing light, fade out to get him ready for bed, or even blink to let a parent know that two minutes are up while playing a game.
But because this system is sold through the Apple store, the question becomes, where do lighting showrooms fit?
Because this first roll-out was aimed at early tech adopters, Casanova says that showrooms are, in fact, part of the equation. “The exclusive Philips has for hue with Apple is only four months, and then after that, showrooms make a lot of sense. In the long-term showrooms will be able to teach the everyday consumer how to use a system like this because, most likely, they will not go to a Home Depot and pick this up off the shelf.”
Several improvements and enhanced features, including geofencing, reverse indicators and media compatibility, are expected for hue in the near future. For more information, visit www.meethue.com.