Proud owner of a Philips Hue smart lighting system at home? Here's how you'll be able to get more from your setup.
Philips has updated its Hue smart lighting system to make it compatible with Apple HomeKit and iOS 9, including Siri voice control. The device is also designed to work seamlessly with other HomeKit-enabled products.
What that means is that with just one Siri voice command, you can unlock the door, turn the lights on and fire up the heating, just like something out of a futuristic film.
The new Bridge 2.0 box sports a better processor and has been designed to be completely future proof. It can be operated using Siri on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch or by using the MyHue portal when you’re away from home.
Here’s everything you need to know about Philips Hue Bridge 2.0.
Setting up the new Bridge
The first thing to do is make sure that your Apple devices have been updated to the latest version of iOS 9 and that you’ve got the most up-to-date version of the Philips Hue app downloaded.
The Bridge 2.0 is incredibly easy to set up and hooks up to your Wi-Fi router. After that, all you have to do is press the button and follow the onscreen instructions in the app.
For existing Hue users, the new, square Bridge 2.0 replaces the older puck-shaped hub. Just like the older version, the new Bridge acts as go-between for your Hue lights and the controller app.
According to Philips, you can swap the new bridge into your system without losing all your old settings.
Once you’re connected, you’ll need to let Siri and the app know what you want to be able to control with your voice.
Control by Siri
You can control your Hue system using the app on your phone, tablet or Apple Watch, but using Siri is what the new Bridge is really designed for.
Specific voice commands can be given like, “Hey Siri, turn on the kitchen light” or “dim the lamp by 50%” or you can choose preset ‘scenes’ like ‘sunset’, which will recreate the warm colours of the setting sun in your home.
You can say mildly embarrassing things like “energize mode!” and Siri will turn up the white lights so that you can do something ‘energizing’ like yoga with the most suitable lighting.
It’s also possible to use one voice command to not only set the lighting, but also to control any other compatible HomeKit tech that you have connected.
For example, you can ask Siri to ‘wake up’ your home ready for the day, turning on your Hue lights and setting your thermostat to a cosy temperature. In the evening, it can save you the bother of walking round the house turning off the lights and locking up by simply asking Siri for “night mode”.
As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll need to preset which voice commands you want to use.
Hue LEDs can produce an incredible array of shades but for now at least, you’ll need to keep colour controls simple as Siri will only recognise a handful of basic colour commands.
Plays nice with HomeKit
Unlike most other HomeKit-enabled products, the Bridge 2.0 isn’t exclusive to Apple’s smart home interface and can be integrated into other smart home platforms such as Samsung’s Smart Things and Nest Weave.
HomeKit-compatible products such as Elgato’s Eve sensors can also be incorporated into the one-voice-command-for-all Siri control.
As more manufacturers introduce HomeKit-compatible devices, you’ll be able to control even more.
Philips’ Hue app will only enable you to control the Hue product and not any other HomeKit-compatible devices. These are controlled through HomeKit and Siri.
Works with existing Hue devices
Philips has made sure that the update won’t leave existing Hue users in the dark, with all Hue bulbs and lamps working seamlessly with the new Bridge.
The maker will also continue to provide support and software updates for the original, puck-shaped Hue Bridge.
How much does the Hue Bridge 2.0 cost?
The Philips Hue Bridge 2.0 will set you back £50, while existing users can get a 33% discount from the Meet Hue website from November 1st until the end of the year. The new Bridge 2.0 has also been added to the updated Hue starter pack along with three bulbs, with a price tag of £150.