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Philips Hue smart light app revamped, adds geofencing capabilities

Philips Hue smart light products, including smart bulbs that work with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Nest platforms, are getting new features thanks to a complete app rework that includes, among other things, the ability to add geofencing to smart lighting in your home.

While geofencing may seem an odd smart capability for bulbs and other lighting devices, Signify reports that this was one of its most requested add-ons for the Philips Hue line. The feature is designed to address a problem with specific scenes that users can set on the app for greater home automation.

Two of these built-in scene options are Coming Home and Leaving Home, which allow the app to use sensors and location-based data to detect whether the user is in the house or not. When they are arriving at the house, the app automatically turns on the lighting, and when the app detects that the user is leaving the house, the lights are shut off.

The problem is that if anyone else is in the house, they would find the lights automatically shut off when the Leaving Home scene is enabled. This update adds a check where the app detects if anyone else using the Hue app is present in the area, in which case the lights won’t be shut off until everyone has left. The update also added the ability to choose sunrise or sunset as an automatic trigger for lights if that preference is more useful to owners. This should make the smart bulbs friendlier for busy homes where multiple people are coming as going, although everyone living there will need to download and sign into the Hue app for the process to be effective.

Other new features in the revamped app include a tile view with linked devices and preset scenes immediately available. The Routines have also been changed to Automations, although they are still largely the same plus the added features.

Signify also reported that the app would be receiving new features through future updates, starting with the ability to create dynamic scenes in summer 2021. Dynamic scenes will enable users to set Hue smart lighting to slowly transition between colors over time without needing to change the color manually.

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