Lighting equates to 25% of the total energy usage in the US. Light bulbs are of the most fundamental tools and have recently seen their most dramatic changes in CFLs and LEDs. Now, Philips is combining them with another fundamental aspect of modern living, wi-fi, to make them more earth-friendly and customizable. Phillips and Apple are looking to bank on this idea as the invention, Philips Hue, is already and exclusively available at Apple stores nationwide.
The idea is as painless as changing a light bulb and downloading an iOS app. Not only are the Hue light bulbs fully customizable, but they are bright, producing 600 lumens and energy efficient using only 8.5 watts of power. The hue light bulbs contain LEDs that offer wide customization when used with the app.
Remote control of all these light bulbs can happen from any location as long as they are connected to wi-fi. The intuitive app allows you to program customized lighting at certain times during the day to keep your house secure, accommodate for schedules and even change the light to a color that is fitting for a room and time while saving those these settings. Customizable colors include different shades of white as well as different shades of colors like red, blue, orange and yellow. Philips offers four LightRecipies that are pre programmed settings to achieve environments suitable for reading, relaxation, concentration or to energize, and all of this is controlled from your smart phone.
Philips has opened to the door to the programming community to develop their own Hue apps and features. An open source development platform has been launched at www.meethue.com to develop more lighting possibilities and share lighting scenes etc. Phillips Hue uses the ZigBee Light Link standard so it can be integrated with certified ZigBee systems.
The company says that Hue is totally upgradable and future-proof so even if you get them soon you will be able to take advantage of future hardware or software developments. Philips is looking to connect these lights with audio and video and more media to create another dimensionality of use. Also, geo-location services may soon be developed to turn your Hue lights on or off when you arrive or depart from home.
Installation kits are going for $200 that include three bulbs and a bridge to connect them to wi-fi via your router. Additional bulbs will sell for $56. One bridge supports up to 50 Hue light bulbs. Light it up.
UPDATE: Looks like great minds think alike. A Kickstarter project, LIFX The Light Bulb Reinvented, is attempting the same lightbulb effort. The Kickstarter was so popular that they sold out, now only accepting pre-orders at their website. Apple lawsuit in the works?