If you already have a Zigbee hub or Alexa Plus you can just buy a light bulb first. A White 60W (equivalent) ES or BC (Edison Screw or Bayonet Cap) costs about $30. Put it in a suitable lamp and start the experiment. You will have to use the Alexa or hub ‘skill’ rather than the Philips Hue app. It is either going to work the first time or not at all.
If you do not have a Zigbee hub, then you can buy a Hue Bridge for under $90 and a single bulb. The Zigbee hub can control other Hue devices like dimmer switches, motion switches or tap switches.
You can find the entire range of 72 Hue products here. Retailers like JB Hi-Fi or hardware stores like Bunnings sell the most popular items. Others require specialist smart home installers and electricians.
Download the Philips Hue Android or iOS app, and it finds the bridge and bulb/s – simple.
Once you name each of the bulbs, locations and groups you can use the app (we are not at the smart home level yet) to control the bulb – on/off/dim.
The Hue app comes with a range of scenes that can control Hue lights with colour RGB LEDs. These include Savanah Sunset, Tropical Twilight, Arctic Aurora, Energise and more.
Smart Home voice control
I tried with OK Google. It uses the Hue app functionality instead of a skill. So, whatever you get in the app you should be able to control via voice.
You add Hue to the Google Home app via Manage Accounts. It is then ready to control the lights. I had four lights in a group called Test. I could say OK Google
- Turn on Test (all lights on at full strength)
- Turn on Ikea (or Light stripe or other unique names)
- Run Savanah Sunset (a scene) on Test (or address any light by its unique name)
- I also set it up with Routines like ‘I am home’ (lights on) and Good Night (lights slowly dim to off)
Philips Hue ecosystem is a good consumer level product. It is easy to set up for a DIY amateur using Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri.
But if you want more than a few novelty lights think hard about what smart lights can do and seek professional help.
Here you will start to understand that using a smart hub like the Vera Plus Home controller at $299 that supports all major standards (Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) and supports up to 220 disparate devices (including Philips Hue) in the one system is the better way to go.