Among the many “smart,” remote-controlled multicolor lightbulbs out on the market, the Philips Hue is one of the premier renditions available. Today, the Hue will get a major update in iOS version 1.1 that’ll allow for even more features, such as “geofencing,” If This Then That (IFTTT) protocol, and extended scene and alarm settings.
What exactly is geofencing? Basically, the bulbs will now be smart enough to recognize the user’s location and know when to start turning on or off without the user setting time schedules or alarms. The user will not need to take their iPhones out of their pocket to activate the smart Hue, and can decide the parameters at which the bulbs should start or stop illuminating. If users prefer a more routine schedule, they can also manually set daily or weekly schedules for the Hue to gradually glow. The ability to get super detailed is useful for, say, morning alarms so the bulbs can start glowing brighter as it gets closer to the user’s scheduled wake up time. Conversely, the bulbs can gradually dim as it gets closer to bedtime.
In version 1.1, switching between scenes (or color combinations) will also run smoother. Information will now be locally stored within each individual bulb instead of through a network, so the color changes will occur more instantaneously.
For the home automation tinkerers, the Hue will now respond to IFTTT logic as well. IFTTT (pronounced like “Lift” without the L) lets users program functions based on the actions before it. For example, you can set the Hue to turn red when your email inbox is full, or make the bulbs turn various colors when the clock hits midnight on New Year’s Day. The bulbs can also run on timer, so you can schedule it to glow pink when your cupcake’s done cooking in the oven. These recipes are all determined by the user, so all combinations are up to your imagination.
Today’s overall update adds a slew of customization features sure to make your home’s lighting system smarter than before. Version 1.1 arrives to iOS first, with the Android and Kindle versions to follow by the end of the month. The Philips Hue is available today for $200 at the Apple store or online, with individual bulbs starting at $60 a piece.