Craig DiLouie recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Deschamps, Product Marketing Manager, Philips Hue, Philips Lighting US. The topic: voice control for lighting.
DiLouie: How would you describe voice-activated lighting?
Deschamps: You can control the lights throughout your home with your voice. All you have to do is ask your voice assistant of choice – Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana, for example – to turn your lights on/off and dim/brighten, or to activate your favorite scene or shade of white or colored light.
DiLouie: What are the benefits of voice-activated lighting? What are typical applications?
Deschamps: Control your lighting without lifting a finger. Ask your voice assistant to turn the lights on as you enter your home; if your arms are full of groceries, you no longer have to strain to hit the light switch on the wall. Or ask your voice assistant to turn off/on your lights from the comfort of your bed; you no longer have to navigate your bedroom in the dark to find the light switch.
DiLouie: How do smart lighting products integrate with these services? Are they able to operated independently as a system through a manufacturer app as well as through voice assistants like Alexa, Google, Homekit?
Deschamps: Philips Hue works with all of the major voice assistant platforms, including Amazon Alexa (with the Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus), Apple Siri (with HomeKit), Google Assistant (with Google Home) and Microsoft Cortana (with Harman Kardon Invoke). Whoever you choose to ask to control your lighting, Philips Hue will respond. Our family of smart lighting products – including bulbs, strips, spots, lamps and fixtures – can be voice-controlled.
In September 2017, Philips Lighting and Amazon announced that consumers can get their smart homes started quickly with an Amazon Echo Plus and Philips Hue White light bulb bundle. In just three easy steps – screw in the Hue bulb, power up the Echo Plus and ask Alexa to discover devices –consumers can use their voice to control their Hue smart lighting for on/off and dimming functionality.
To get even more out of your smart lighting and for using Philips Hue in conjunction with the other voice assistants, consumers should add a Philips Hue bridge. This will allow them to control their lights with Philips Hue’s app, smart switches (Tap and wireless dimmer switch) and motion sensor, enjoy third-party apps developed for the smart lighting system, and unlock features like out of home connectivity.
DiLouie: How does using these services for home automation compare to installing a dedicated home automation system?
Deschamps: These services are quick and easy to install. You can be up and running with Philips Hue smart lighting and link it with voice platforms and other smart home devices and services in minutes.
Upgrading is simple as well. Many offerings push over-the-air software updates to install; this ensures that consumers have the latest features and security patches.
DiLouie: What opportunities exist for electrical contractors and distributors in this market segment? What do they need to do and know to recommend and sell these products?
Deschamps: There is an opportunity for electrical contractors and distributors to extend their range of services and become smart home technology advisors. While installation is simple – Philips Hue offers retrofit bulbs and downlights – many consumers are still looking for support with fixture installs, and want reassurance that everything will work properly within their homes. It’s important that they learn how everything communicates and what products are interoperable, to ensure the best smart lighting and smart home experience.
DiLouie: Please describe your product line in this category. What does a typical system look like?
Deschamps: Philips Hue is the world’s leading smart lighting system for the home from Philips Lighting.
With Philips Hue, you can simplify and enhance your home life in smart and useful ways. Personalize and control your lighting to:
• Give you peace of mind when away from home
• See and feel better throughout the day
• Help get a better night’s rest
• Support your routines and activities
• Create the right ambiance in any room
• Bring your home entertainment experience to the next level
Providing the best lighting experience is at the heart of Philips Hue. Key to this is it being interoperable with more than 600 apps, products and platforms from other brands and developers. In addition to being able to control Philips Hue with your voice, consumers can also expect their smart lighting to work seamlessly with IFTTT, Nest, Samsung SmartThings, Vivint Smart Home and Xfinity Home for home automation.
To get started with Philips Hue, all you need is a starter kit, which includes four smart light bulbs and a bridge. You can connect up to 50 light points and 12 accessories to the bridge.
DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?
Deschamps: Smart lighting is a great place to start when building a smart home. You can see and feel its impact on your home and life immediately. Voice is one means of simple control over your lighting, but there are times when you might not want to command a voice assistant, for example, at night, so you don’t wake up your household. Philips Hue gives consumers flexibility in how they create the right setting, mood or ambiance. They can also use the Hue app on their smartphone, tablet or wearable, simply press a button on one of the Hue smart switches, or still go hands-free with the Hue motion sensor.