Philips, Apple offer web-controlled LED lighting

October 31, 2012 // By Peter Clarke
Consumer electronics giant Philips has introduced a range of wireless- and Internet-addressable LED light bulbs called "hue" that consumers can control from any iOS or Android device, including changing colors and turning on and off remotely.

The starter kit for the online-addressable lighting system is being offered exclusively through Apple stores beginning Oct. 30. The kit includes three hue LED light bulbs that fit into standard light fixtures, a bridge unit that connects to a wireless router and a downloadable application. The application comes in iOS and Android variants.

From the app, which can be hosted on most smartphones and tablet computers, consumers can remotely control home lighting for security, set and change timers and alter the color from more than 16 million colors to customize the lighting in each room.

Philips did not indicate whether both screw-thread and bayonet fixing is supported, but photographs appear of screw-thread devices. The starter kit is priced at $199 with additional bulbs available at $59 each.

The hue bulb allows tunable white light from cool to warm. Philips said that the internet addressablility allows lights to be turned off and on or dimmed remotely and that the application supports up to 50 hue bulbs in a domestic setting. This also allows numerous light settings to be saved and recalled at the touch of tablet button.

The hue light bulbs are provided with ZigBee LightLink communications allowing them to communicate with each other so that as long as one hue bulb can talk to the WiFi router via the bridge unit the complete hue lighting network is under control.

he use of ZigBee will enable hue lighting networks to be integrated with other ZigBee networks such as motion sensors and home thermostats, Philips said. It also means that software updates for the hue bulbs can be provided automatically via the Wi-Fi bridge.

Philips is planning to add other features such as an awareness of audio and video activity and geo-location so that bulbs will know where in the world they are and can be told when the user is nearing home. The consumer electronics giant is also looking to make