Philips still has a strong grip on affordable home automation with its Hue product family. After their first brainchild, the original Hue, hitting the markets back in 2012 they have continued to satisfy customer needs with a vast lineup of additions. Portable lights, desk lamps, white-only lamps, light strips and more give customers the choice and ability to outfit their home to the full extent of their creativity. The hundreds of third party apps for iOS offering control over your lights seal the deal for millions of happy customers. By now an extensive amount of automations are available to the public, either through native integrations from, let’s say your XBOX One, to automation providers like IFTTT.
And for some time now, Apple offers even more features through HomeKit, it’s home automation solution. Smart home appliances, just like the Philips Hue, can be controlled natively from Siri. Voice commands like “Dim the lights downstairs” or “Turn on the lights in the office” are well understood and work after a short setup. And if you own more smart devices with HomeKit support, you can create bundled commands. By saying “Party mode” Siri could turn on your stereo, dim down your lights and reduce the room’s temperature.
How it works
Substantial is the Philips Hue bridge. While owners of the first Hue bridge, distinguishable through its white circular shape, will continue to receive updates and support from Philips, only owners of the newer, second version of the Hue bridge will gain full access to Apple’s HomeKit features. The new Hue bridge can however be bought separately, and your Hue app can aid with migrating your settings painlessly.
Using the Hue app, pairing your bridge with HomeKit is a breeze. The on-screen menu will guide you through all the steps – you don’t even have to type your bridge’s pairing code (found on the bottom of the bridge itself), the app offers a very reliable image recognition. A note on the side, you will be required to use the iCloud Keychain and Siri to use the functionalities provided by HomeKit.
Once you’re paired and good to go it’s time to group your lights by rooms and zones. Thanks to plenty of options in the App Store this is a matter of minutes. The basics are well covered by “Elgato Eve“, but there are other options like “Home” or “MyHome Plus” with even more functions. Start out by creating and naming your rooms with Hue bulbs in them. Continue then by heading to your accessory overview to assign your lights to the rooms you just created. Siri can now “turn of the light in the office”. Optionally, you can create so called Zones to bundle certain rooms so Siri can even “dim the light downstairs”.
One more thing – both the individual lamps as well as the scenes you created in your Hue app can be made available to Siri, too. Head to your app’s Settings section, tap “Siri Voice Control” and select the Scenes and Lights you’d like to control via Siri.
This post is also available in: German