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Philips Hue RGB LED Starter Kit and Home Automation

Posted by LiveHouse Automation on

We often get asked about Philips Hue products and how they fit into Home Automation. If you've seen us comment on "controlling lights from a smartphone is cool and all" then it's products like this that are at the heart of it.

Many builders are offering Hue as a smart lighting when you're choosing the fitout of a new home. A lot of people pick up a starter kit from Harvey Norman, the Apple Store or may get one as a gift.

The thing is, Hue lights by themselves are not actually that smart.

Sure you can turn them on from your phone and change the colours or choose a preset scene. But if you turn them on and off from the wall switch, they just turn on as a normal white light - requiring you to pull out your phone and change the colour/brightness. This might not be an issue if you've got a single room or a few globes, but if you're planning to fill your house with them - the novelty is going to wear off pretty quick. If the other members of your family are not carrying smartphones all the time, you've effectively got some very expensive white LED lights. So now you're adding Hue tap smart switches so that you can choose a colour/brightness preset.

We were recently contacted by a customer building a new home in Brisbane which was planned to feature a significant number of Hue globes and LED strip feature lights both inside and out. So we got a Hue starter kit into the workshop to validate the capabilities and integration with Home Automation controllers.

The results

The good news is that practically all Home Automation vendors are offering some level of Hue support. We tested with a Vera controller and it took only a few minutes to get everything working. We were impressed with the integration. Hue Globes are responsive, controllable in every way (colour, brightness on/off), can be used in scenes, controlled individually or integrated with any automation logic.

This is a great example of why you'd have a Home Automation controller - it brings different systems together into a single Home system that you interact with. In this case the Hue Hub uses the ZigBee protocol. Vera uses Z-wave. However both are connected to your home network, allowing Vera to control the Hue Hub. Now you don't have to care what protocols are being used.

So you've got Hue globes and a Home Automation Controller - now what?

Now you get creative.

Obviously you've got a convenient single point of control for all of your Hue, Z-wave lighting and everything else in your smart home so try these ideas:

  • Use a Hue Globe near the front door as a status light to indicate when the alarm is armed (red) or disarmed (green) when the front door is opened.
  • Change a Hue globe to Orange if the garage door is left open after 8pm.
  • Link your bedside lamp Hue globes to your morning routine, have them change colour to match the temperature forecast, simulate a sunrise or flash red when you're meant to have left the house already.
  • Put some Hue's in the media room or kids bedrooms to change colours and serve as a reminder that bed time is soon, it's time for a shower or to feed the pets. (Link in SONOS speakers to add Audio to events as well).
  • Turn your Hue lights on and off from your smartphone when you're not home. (Had to include this).

If you've got Hue already and want to get more out of it, consider adding a Home Automation controller. From there you can expand your Automation system and add new capabilities. Contact us if you'd like more information or need help increasing the IQ of your smart home.

-Ant.


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