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Philips Brings Lighting To Apple Stores

Somerset, N.J. — Philips introduced Monday the Hue — a smart-device-controlled connected lighting system.

Driven by a smart-device app, the system allows users to remotely control their home lighting for added security, to personalize their lighting experience with custom settings, or to program timers to help manage daily schedules.

Philips called Hue “the world’s first web-enabled LED home lighting system available direct to the consumer.”

The Hue system will be available beginning Oct. 30, exclusively through Apple stores for a $199 street retail for a starter kit. Additional bulbs will be available at $59.      

The system is said to be easy to install, and it offers wireless control from smart devices.

The Gue starter kit includes three LED bulbs that fit into any standard light fixture, and a bridge that connects to existing wireless routers. It can be controlled from any iOS or Android device.

From the app, consumers can remotely control their home lighting for added security, personalize their lighting experience with custom settings, or program timers to manage daily schedules.

Up to 50 Hue bulbs can be managed from one device, and each bulb can be controlled individually.

Philips said it conducted in-home testing in New York, Berlin and Shanghai, where consumers reported the quality of the light, programmable reminders, and the fact that lighting could be controlled from outside the home as features they most appreciated. 

Philips’ Hue includes four pre-programmed light settings based on  research around lighting’s optimal effects. The pre-programmed scenarios adjust the bulbs to the optimum shade and brightness of white light to relax, read or boost mood and energy.

With LEDs, lighting can be digitized, and semiconductors allow them to be easily integrated into electronic circuitry. Integration into electronic circuits allows them to deliver unique light outputs on the command of electrical signals, Philips said.  

Using the ZigBee LightLink standard, Hue bulbs can communicate with each other, over a broad signal range, regardless of the location of the bridge in the home.

The standard also allows the system to use significantly less standby power than traditional Wi-Fi systems, Philips said. Hue is based on open standards and can be easily integrated with other ZigBee-based systems, such as motion sensors and home thermostats, for additional home automation. Software updates for the bulbs are done automatically via the bridge and the bulbs themselves, making it easy and intuitive for users and essentially future-proofing the customer’s investment in Hue.

Building on the company’s AmbiLight, which offered rear-panel silhouette lighting on some Philips-branded LCD TVs, Philips said it is developing future product features, such as allowing Hue to integrate with other media including sound and video.

Further, the company is working on features such as geo-location services, allowing Hue to sense when a user is close to home and automatically turn on the lights, or turn the off when the user has left.  

Philips is also researching the application of reverse indicators, enabling Hue to alert that the lighting has not been turned on during a specific time period, offering numerous possibilities around senior care.

Philips is making the Hue interface and software development kit available to anyone who wants to create additional functionality or applications that interact with the system. The applications will then be tested by the Philips connected lighting team to ensure they are viable.