Smart home tech started out as hobby for early adopters. With the launch of the Philips Hue Go, now's the time to invest in connected lighting.
What if my lights could turn on automatically and welcome me home in the evening? Or change colour to suit my mood?
In the relentless pursuit of making our lives ‘connected’, the humble lightbulb has become the latest household device to be dragged into the internet age.
As with any new product there have been some early teething problems. Sometimes you need to take two steps back before you move forward.
The future was missing something. As my housemates elegantly kept reminding me when I first tried out connected lighting last year, “these new lights are great, but how the hell do you turn them on and off?”
As smart as smart lighting can be, simple details like being able to easily turn them on and off was notably absent from earlier generations.
Early adopters were forced to endure dozens of taps on a dedicated smartphone app to perform a basic tasks millions do every day with a plain old light switch.
The apps were buggy. They tried the patience of even the most determined futurist.
There wasn’t a compelling reason for you to upgrade. Until now.
Philips’ new Hue Go changes the game. It’s the first product with mainstream appeal and a great way to start building your own smart home.
Philips launched their original range of Hue lights back in 2012. Loved by early adopters across the world, starter kits now retail at around £79.
The built-in LED bulbs are super efficient. They’re the future.
Recently there have been improvements across the board. Philips overhauled their apps and released new product lines including the Hue Tap, a wall switch to accompany your lights.
The Hue Go is tabletop lamp that takes up the same space as your morning cereal bowl.
Like earlier versions of Hue it can display 16 million different shades of colour, taking your bedroom from sunrise to tart’s boudoir at the touch of a button.
And yes, it finally features a physical button. This lamp can be turned on and off without the need for a smartphone app.
Better still, the Hue Go is portable. Detaching it from the power cable gives you around 3 hours of wireless light.
Being able to easily move the lamp around takes the idea of connected lighting to a new level.
Like earlier generation Hues, in a couple of simple steps you can build your own internet connected light system.
With a free service called If This Then That (IFTTT), you can choose from thousands of ways to notify yourself using your lights.
Setting up your own connected lighting system only takes a couple of minutes. IFTTT will need your Philips Hue account details to access the lights. Once you’ve handed them over you’re free to try out thousands of pre-made functions which IFFT refers to as recipes.
Recipes are triggered by other apps and services. Want to get email alerts to your lamp? Connect it to your gmail account.
The possibilities are endless. Some of my personal favourites:
Who’s it for?
People looking to make their home more connected. At £79, Hue Go offers a low cost way to get a taste of the future.
The Hue Go won’t look out of place in most homes. Its finished in an attractive white gloss and takes up minimal space on your table.
Simple to set up, energy efficient and with the added bonus of a built in battery for portability.
Philips calls it an ‘extension device’. If you want to take advantage of any of the internet connected features you’ll also need to a bridge device to connect it to your router. The only way to get hold of one is buy a Hue starter pack, costing another £79.
The bottom line
The Philips Hue system gives you glimpse into the future. What started out as a hobbyist kit for early adopters is blossoming into a fully fledged system for the masses.
If you want to turn your home into a smart home, it’s a great place to start.