Buying a light bulb has traditionally been a matter of choosing the wattage, colour and energy-efficiency, taking it home and plugging it into the socket.
But as internet-enabled devices start to fill every corner of our homes - what’s called the internet of things - the humble light bulb is about to undergo a radical transformation.
By adding intelligence to your home’s network of lamps and lights, you can use connected lighting to complement your changing mood, help you feel relaxed or energised, let you know when it’s time to get up or even if tell you if you’ve got an email.
In 2012 Philips introduced a connected lighting system called Hue. The Hue system consists of internet-enabled bulbs, a bridge which connects the system to your home wi-fi, and the Philips Hue smartphone app.
The Philips Hue lets users control up to 50 Hue light bulbs so you could change their colour, alter the light temperature, wake you up, turn on at a specific time or function as a timer, all from your tablet or smartphone.
Philips Hue Beyond
Now Philips has added a new connected lamp to the range called Hue Beyond, which is available as a table light, ceiling light and pendant light.
Hue Beyond looks like a normal lamp, but includes two light sources, an uplight and a downlight, which work together to create different colour combinations that can change the entire atmosphere of a room.
Leonardo Avezzano, Consumer Marketing Director Hue luminaires believes our homes are becoming multifunctional our lighting should adapt - which is where Hue Beyond comes in.
“A kitchen table can go from a place to enjoy dinner with the family to a place children can do their homework without affecting the ambience of the room, but with the added benefit of keeping you connected to the world around you,” he said.
So if you wanted to read under Hue Beyond you could use a white downlight and select a red toplight to give the room a warm tone.
If you’re not sure what colour combinations to use, the Philips Hue app includes some specially designed presets such as ‘Paris by Night’ which it claims will provide a romantic atmosphere and ‘Cherry Blossom’, which is more relaxing.
Check out the video above to find out more.
What’s really clever about the Hue range is that they can connect to other devices so that a flashing light flash or a change in colour takes on a new significance.
Using the Philips Hue channel on IFTTT (see below), you can programme Hue devices to work with other apps.
For example if it begins to rain the lights will change blue, if you are tagged in a Facebook status or receive an email from a specific address the lights blink and it can even connect to the ESPN app to flash when your team scores.
As well as being controlled by the official Philips Hue app, the Hue range is compatible with third-party apps that allow them to do many different things.
Philips claims there are currently 150 compatible apps, which let you do things like turn the lights on on when you enter your house (iConnectHue) or even provide a mobile disco (Amblify).
An app called Convo Lights app (above) has been especially created for deaf people, and enables them to ‘hear’ through light. A light can be activated when a call comes in and the app can even create personalised light ringtones for individual callers.
Russ Stein, who is deaf and owns a pizzeria in San Francisco, believes the app has made a huge difference to his business. Prior to using the app he was missing 50% of calls, but now that’s down to just 5%.
Jarrod Musano CEO of Convo believes connected lights will have the potential to change the lives of those with hearing difficulties.
“Deaf culture has found something which is both visually beautiful and endlessly customisable in Hue – a truly meaningful innovation,” she said.
“The response from the deaf community has been overwhelmingly positive, and this is only the beginning.”
The Philips Hue Beyond is available as a table light (£329), ceiling light (£529) and pendant light (£529) from Selfridges, find out more from Philips.