Not satisfied with merely being able to control your Hue lightbulbs with a few taps on your iPhone? Starting Monday Philips is opening up Hue’s APIs and issuing a software development kit (SDK) for iOS developers who want to make their own mobile apps to turn off, dim, time or sync their Hue bulbs.
Philips’ smartphone-controlled LED lightbulbs have been for sale in the Apple Store since late October. Since then, the company says some developers have already gotten creative with Hue, including one app that syncs the bulbs with music and another that uses the iPhone’s calendar to schedule when the lights should be on.
Using the low-power wireless protocol ZigBee Light Link, Hue bulbs talk to a bridge that in turn talks to the iPhone (or an Android device). ZigBee is also used by other wireless lighting devices for the home, so between that and open APIs and an SDK, there should be a lot more creative ideas for ways to control home lighting systems, but other devices in the mix as well.
Philips calls its new developer effort “just the first phase” of what’s to come. It says new features are already in the pipeline, including geofencing and scheduling. (And, as you might expect with wireless connected bulbs, the bulbs are self-updating.) iPhone controlled lightbulbs are just a splash in the coming connected home and internet of things wave. And as is the case for most early adopters, the people who dip their toes in the water first are going to have to lay out some dough for the privilege. Philips’ Hue system is not cheap: the starter kid, which includes the bridge and three bulbs is $199, and additional bulbs are $59 each.