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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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The state of my smart lights

This is just a bit of a rant.

In fact, I created this whole site so I could rant about stuff like this, and maybe learn a thing or two. This is my first real post for my new community Hometechnica.

If you are interested in home automation, alternative energy, digital privacy, and all the gadgets in the space, I welcome you to sign up.

I purchased a home this year and transitioned from renter to owner, an exciting transition into being able to make permanent choices.

My wife and I really enjoy what home automation we do have, but I know we're still in the dark age, and no good system is going to work without a lot of care and maintenance. I'm up for it, but I still feel like everything is working against me.

I had committed to the Hue system, because one has to commit to something, and I really don't want the central node to be my voice automation like Alexa or Google Home. While I may have some of those devices, I don't want to entirely build around these surveillance machines.

But it seems like Hue is, at best, also just in maintenance mode. Phillips has their base Hue line, but also now has their Wiz wifi bulbs... And Hue is really starving for compatible devices. The Ecosmart bulbs at Home Depot (the smart ones... Despite smart being in the brand name, they are not all "smart bulbs"...) are a good cheap bulb that is compatible with Hue, but there is not a lot else out there.

I like the idea of this standalone mesh network of smart bulbs and things, but I kind of feel like I've bet on the wrong horse.

My plan in this scenario was to build my own abstraction layer in case I needed different ecosystems to play together, but I have not gotten the Hue bulbs to work with the libraries I've found... Even though I have in the past. I'm not sure if this is my problem getting the tools to work or that the APIs are out of date.

I have no intention of giving up, but feel I may need to go back to the drawing board. Join me on this website if you can help... Or just share in my misery. 🤪

Discussion (8)

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itsasine profile image
Kayla

Phillips has their base Hue line

Signify technically has Hue. Phillips Lighting spun off and went IPO, just using the Phillips brand as per marketing agreements.

Because of that, I'm not terribly concerned for their future; though, I'll be lurking here and on the various subreddits to see if I need to jump ship :)

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Ben Halpern Author

I’m less concerned about them being around in the long run but kind of annoyed that they don’t seem to be leaning in and pushing out new and interesting things.

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itsasine profile image
Kayla

Ah, yeah, good point. 👍

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n_develop profile image
Lars Richter

Hi Ben.

This is an interesting topic. But I'm pretty sure Phillips Hue is (at least) an okay choice. ;-)

But to be honest, I don't own a Hue bridge myself. But you can use the Apple HomeKit integration of the Hue bridge and use all the Homekit goodness (including Siri). And as far as I can tell, Apple HomeKit is much less of a "surveillance system" than Google Home and Alexa. But that's another rabbit hole to dive into.

I started my home automation / smart home journey with homee. It's pretty cool. If you own the ZigBee cube, you can connect Hue bulbs, IKEA Tradfri bulbs, OSRAM Smart Plugs, Innr smart bulbs and a lot more. And if you also buy the Z-Wave and EnOcean cubes, there are a ton of different devices (like switches, motion sensors, radiator thermostats, alarm sirens, smoke detectors, cameras and a lot more) you can add to your home automation by using a single "bridge".
The most important part for me was, that I can use affordable smart bulbs like the IKEA ones out-of-the-box.

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n_develop profile image
Lars Richter

Hi Ben. One more thing. I tried to use a twitter liquid tag to show a tweet in this comment. But as soon as I press the preview button, it says "Bad Authentication". Looks like something is wrong with the API Key / twitter integration.

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Ben Halpern Author

I'm a browser of several subreddits related to gadgets and homebuilding, I also read some blogs, but I want to connect a little more deeply and felt like this site had a place in the universe. I look forward to blogging about my own crafts, but hope that you'll stop by and comment or help out.

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lisasy profile image
Lisa Sy

Joining you here!

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Ben Halpern Author

Yay!