5 reasons to add Philips Hue bulbs to your smart home

Philips Hue

Philips Hue bulbs truly add the “smart” to “smart home”.

For the last few years I’ve been attempting to turn my home into a “smart home”. Some of the products I have added or tested have been great, while others have had constant issues or just didn’t live up to the hype. My latest addition, the Philips Hue connected LED bulb, blows every other “smart” thing out of the water. Here’s five reasons why.

Easy to setup

For my review Philips sent me the Hue White Ambiance A19 Starter Kit. This kit consists of two connected bulbs, a bridge and a remote. Hook the bridge up to your router via an Ethernet cable, screw the bulbs into the light fixtures you want them in, download the app and you’re up and running (seriously, the setup took about 10 minutes in total).

Works with everything

There is nothing more infuriating than not being able to control a “smart” device the way you want. One of the standout features of the Philips Hue bulbs is it can be controlled from almost everything. The Wink Relay works with it as does Amazon’s Echo device (still not available in Canada) and it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit (meaning you can tell Siri to turn lights on and off). It also works with Nest (lights turn on when thermostat is in “Away” mode and turn on if your smoke detector goes off) and can also be controlled via the Harmony Ultimate One remote.

Total control

Along with it working with everything I threw at it, the Hue app gives you total control of the bulbs. You can set routines for the bulbs to turn on and off, change the brightness level (“Dimmed” is great for watching Stranger Things on Netflix) and even change the colour (only if you have a colour Hue bulb). The supplied remote (which can also be mounted to the wall) can be programmed and both the Android and iOS app are easy to use. You can also control it via certain wearables, like the Apple Watch, and use the IFTTT app with it. There’s also third-party apps available that opens up the potential of Hue even further.

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Great bulb

My entire house has been updated to LED bulbs and the Philips Hue bulbs give off some of the best light out of the bunch. The White Ambiance bulbs range between 2000K and 6500K, giving you the ability to have warm or cold light depending on your mood. They’re 800 lumens, use only 10.5 watts and can last up to 25,000 hours (comparable to most LED bulbs these days). Because you can dim them via the bulb there is also no need for expensive dimmer switches, which sometimes cause LED bulbs to hum.

Expandable

Philips makes a range of Hue bulbs and up to 50 bulbs can run off of one bridge. I’ve already purchased extra bulbs for around my house and added some colour ones to the mix (having my lights outside turn orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas is going to be awesome). There’s also Hue light strips available, which are perfect for under kitchen cabinets.

RELATED: Netatmo Weather Station review: Cool device; far from perfect

Final thoughts

The initial cost of adding Philips Hue bulbs is a bit shocking (the starter kit I was sent is about $129.99) but once you see the control they give you you’ll realize it’s well worth the investment. I honestly don’t know how I survived this long without them.

Are you a fan of Philips Hue bulbs? Use something similar? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

WeMo devices now work with the Nest thermostat

WeMo works with Nest

The WeMo line of connected switches and plugs now works with Google’s Nest thermostat.

Belkin announced Tuesday that its line of WeMo connected light switches and wall plugs now works with Google’s Nest thermostat.

WeMo users can control basic functions of the Nest thermostat via the latest version of the WeMo app (1.15) for both Android and iOS devices. This eliminates the need to switch between two apps in order to check or adjust the temperature of your home (you can also switch between heat and A/C, see the inside humidity and shut-off your furnace).

RELATED: A look at Belkin’s WeMo Switch (and who should be using it)

Rules can also be created now to turn off lights or devices connected to WeMo switches and plugs when the Nest is in “away” mode or to have lights or devices turn on when the Nest knows you’re home.

WeMo products that work with Nest include the WeMo Switch, WeMo Insight Switch, WeMo Light Switch and WeMo Maker.

For those interested in “smart home” technology this news has been a long time coming. Having all your connected devices able to talk to each other makes for a seamless connected home experience that requires a lot less effort and energy to run.

How to introduce your WeMo to your Nest

To get WeMo devices talking with Nest you must have the latest version of the WeMo app (1.15) installed and your WeMo devices and Nest must be setup on your home network and working.

From the WeMo app click the “more” (or gear) button and then press the “connect to Nest” button. Follow the steps to finish setting up the WeMo-Nest introduction.

Once your Nest is synced you’ll be able to see it and control it from within the WeMo app.

Are you excited that WeMo and Nest now work together? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.