updated 03:39 pm EDT, Tue May 14, 2013
Update available for existing systems
Philips has introduced a downloadable update for its Hue lighting system. Version 1.1 brings several location-based features, referred to as "geofencing," that enable multicolor Hue bulbs to be automatically turned on or off or change color when residents approach or leave their home, without requiring preprogrammed scheduling.
Users can still take advantage of a variety of settings for lighting schedules and alarms, including recurring alarms that can be used as a wake-up alert through the workweek. The new timer function utilizes lighting changes to show time intervals for workouts, cooking or other tasks.
The company also partnered with IFTTT (If This Then That) to simplify trigger programming based on Internet-sourced data. Through integration with smartphones and tablets, the Hue bulbs can serve as indicators for impending weather, e-mail or social networking notifications, sunrise and sunset, or sports scores, among other capabilities.
Philips is currently promoting its Hue open APIs and software developers' kit, which arrived earlier this year. Third-party apps further expand Hue features, adding voice-command input and using the lights to visualize album art and heart rate, for example.
Hue 1.1 is already available as a free download for iOS devices, with Android versions expected to arrive in the near future.