What is smart lighting?
Latest news for smart lightingSmart lighting is any system which allows you to remotely control or automate your lighting when you’re in or out of the home, using network connections and devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers.
Smart lighting is often integrated with other power control technologies such as heating and energy use in the smart home, using technologies such as IFTTT (If This, Then That) to trigger actions based on sensors for heat, light, sound and even your proximity to home.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to the Smart HomeThe leader in smart lighting has to be Philips, which has been pursuing unusual lighting concepts since its Ambilight TV range more than a decade ago, and currently offers the Philips Hue range of colour-changing remote controllable lights.
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At £49 a lightbulb, Philips Hue may sound pricey, but not when you consider it lets you pick any visible light colour from your smartphone.
The LED bulbs can create not only a wide range of whites from warm candlelight to cool whites, but almost any other colour, with an output of up to 600 lumen (equivalent to a 50W bulb).
The Hue app for iPhone and Android connects to your bulbs from anywhere in the world, and lets you select a colour from a palette, or even pick colours from a digital photo.
Individual bulbs can be assigned different colours, or mixed together in ‘LightRecipes’ with automatic colour changes with programmable timers.
Jeroen de Waal, head of marketing and strategy at Philips Lighting, said: “Philips hue is a game-changer in lighting – a completely new way to experience and interact with light.
“In the way phones, media and entertainment have been revolutionised by digital technology, now we can also personalise light and enjoy limitless applications.”
To do all this you’ll need the £179 Hue introduction pack, which contains three lightbulbs and a Hue Bridge, which connects to your broadband router via an Ethernet cable.
The bridge converts your commands into signals using the Zigbee Light Link system – a low power technology designed for home automation which turns each Zigbee device into a network extender, so the lights can reach further than your WiFi with careful positioning.
The Hue app comes with four preset LightRecipes called Relax, Read, Concentrate and Energise, created through user-testing in New York, Berlin and Shanghai.
Philips is already looking at enhancements such as geolocation to switch on your lights when you’re close to home, and to integrate with other media such as sound, video and its own Ambilight TVs.
Ambilight TVs incorporate a multi-colour light source which changes to complement what’s on-screen. Could this be the start of surround lighting?
The Hue source code has also been opened to the developer community at meethue.com to encourage new applications, while Zigbee is already an open standard.
Philips’s Hue lightbulbs are only available in the US/European Edison Screw fitting – converters cost about £2.
October 29, 2012