Next up on my list of Smart Home Apps is the Philips Hue App. If you use Hue lighting in any part of your home automation system I am sure you have seen the Hue app, but like most of us who have ventured into Home Automation you probably use Hue as part of a bigger system so rarely if ever use the Hue App anymore. I have only just recently started using it more and do like it but it is limited and with over 150 devices in my Home Automation setup I need one app to control them which Hue does not give me.
Let’s start with the look and feel. To me it is very minimal looking, and I did not like that at all at first but now as I am revisiting the app it is growing on me. I like having my lights grouped into rooms with the ability to control all the lights in one room together. This makes scene execution simple. What I do not like about this however is having to create a room for just one light. I feel that is an extra step that is not needed. Once you click into a room you can control individual lights and set scenes across them all. The scenes support is where I feel the hue app really shines. I am a big user of all the default scenes which I never thought I would be because I am a tinkerer by nature. The one thing missing from scenes for me is the ability to apply a scene over all rooms easily, but I get it most people may not use that functionality, so I am fine using a third-party solution for that. The Hue app also have Routines which I will admit I do not use but the minimalistic approach to the app does make them easy to setup.
There are two sections of the app which I love, and both are hidden in the “Explore” Section. First there is the “What’s New” section, which is a great overview of the last app update and makes it easy to see what has changed and to learn new features. Everyone needs to have this! The other hidden gem is the “Philips Hue Labs” section which allows you to check out experimental automations. I have used Hue Labs for a while now and before it used to be web based only which I found cumbersome. If you are not using Hue Labs you should be there is some great stuff hidden in there.
The last section is the “Settings” section and I know what you’re thinking what, who cares its settings. Well this setting section has one great feature…”Software Updates”, which gives you the ability to see if there are any updates available for any of your Hue devices. This is another feature that everyone should have!
In the end I like the Hue app a lot but for the most part in my system it will continue to be underutilized and will become another app that is on my phone that very rarely (if ever) gets used. The Hue ecosystem is just too cost prohibitive to get that far into. On that note I will say that it is possible to pair other connected bulbs and other connected accessories to Hue but so get very limited if any functionality from the Hue App. I will be writing a blog post in the coming weeks on some of the “unofficially support devices.” Please let me know your experiences with the Hue app in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.