Philips launches smartphone-controllable, networked LED lighting called ‘Hue’

The Dutch multinational electronics company, Philips, recently launched a more advanced LED (light-emitting diode) bulb that could be used in homes, offices or any enclosed spaces. Dubbed as “hue” the company boasts it is the first of its kind. These light bulbs are IP-addressable and can be controlled by smartphones or tablets running Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android through an app.

In a demonstration, Philips showed that users can do more than just turn the bulbs on and off. Using a smartphone, the brightness can be adjusted and users can choose a color bulbs will emit. Timers can also be set and changed using supported mobile devices. The app used to control hue reportedly supports up to 50 bulbs in domestic setting, although the company didn’t say if there is going to be an industrial version of it.

“There are several preset lighting modes that provide tones for specific environments, including calming tones for reading and relaxing,” Tom’s Hardware reported. But Philips said they are planning on adding new features including awareness to audio and video activity. Geo-location feature may also be included in future updates to make the LED bulbs even smarter than they already are.

Philips is apparently ahead of the competition as far as making smart light bulbs is concerned but it is reportedly using ZigBee’s Lightlink communications technology to make hue works. This technology will make each LED a member of a network that could communicate with a Wi-Fi router via the bridge unit so they can be controlled wirelessly.

The hue interface software development kit (SDK) will be made available to third parties who may want to develop and add more functionality in the future. The starter kit is priced at $199 and additional bulbs are offered for $59 apiece. It might seem a little expensive but the technology used in it is more than enough. Interested parties can now purchase hue exclusively from Apple stores.