Smart light would be nothing without the numerous mobile apps that have been developed to monitor connected bulbs, switches and other appliances. By allowing us to connect our lighting systems to other online services or smart items, they offer countless possibilities which can either make our lives easier or add fun to it.
The IFTTT platform hosts thousands of applets called “recipes”. They are based on a simple principle: “if this, then that”. In other words, the smart light will change in a chosen way depending on the situation. With more than 200 recipes available, the Philips Hue and Lifx smart bulbs are those which offer the highest number of possibilities. Our top 10 will thus be based on the apps available for those two products.
To keep an eye on the weather
No need to open the window to know how to dress yourself: your light bulb will tell you all. If current condition changes to rain, then the light will turn blue. If it starts to snow, it will blink and turn cyan, whereas it will produce a golden glow when the sun sets. The light bulb can even alert the house occupants if a tornado threatens.
For the social media addicts
If you can’t stop looking at your emails or social media accounts, your addiction is not about to stop with a smart light system! Dozens of recipes provide alerts if something happens online. Someone tags you on Facebook? The light will turn blue. Someone else mentions you on Twitter? It will blink. The same principle applies if you have a missed call, a new email or if your phone’s battery hits low.
For the sports lovers...
By connecting the Philips Hue light bulbs to smart sports gear, it is possible to visualize – in a literal sense – your progress. For example, a recipe flashes your lights if you achieve your daily goal with FitBit. Idem for the Nike+ (NikeFuel) app, which tracks its user's progress: the lights will turn green if your goal is reached! Sony Lifelog has also developed its app, which will create a color loop when you burn over 1000 calories in a day. Sea lovers will also have access to information concerning the weather conditions for surfing thanks to the data provided by Surfline.
...and those who'd better watch it on TV
Many recipes were developed with American TV sports channel ESPN. For example, lights can turn to your favorite team’s colors when the game begins, and then again when your team wins or scores. A similar recipe has been made for the Olympic Games, called the Olympics Color Loop Notes. Every time team USA would win a medal, the lights would change to the colors of the American flag.
For those who get easily distracted
If you keep forgetting about important dates, your light bulbs won’t. They will turn pink for Valentine’s Day, green for Saint Patrick’s Day or orange for Halloween. To celebrate America’s Independence Day, they will flash blue, red and white. And for New Year’s Eve, they will create an atmosphere of celebration and conviviality.
For the wannabe astronauts
If your light bulbs begin to flash, it may be because you missed your shuttle launch to the International Space Station! If you are in love with deep space, you will enjoy the recipe which flashes the lights if an astronaut enters space. Another one changes the color of lights when the Space Station flies over your house or flat. Canadians who live in the province of Alberta can also keep an eye on the Northern Lights thanks to the data provided by Aurorawatch.
For health and safety reasons
If connected to the smoke detector Nest Protect, the Lifx smart light bulbs will turn red when a high level of carbon monoxide is detected. Other detectors are compatible with Philips Hue products. If you are using the air quality monitor Foobot, you can set your lights to briefly blink if high pollution levels are detected (global pollution > 50). You can also watch the UV index inside your house and set your lights to turn red as a warning if it rises above 9, thanks to Yahoo! Weather.
To keep a close watch on your house
If a stranger enters your house, they will be welcomed with a red light alert, thanks to the smart camera Netatmo Welcome’s facial recognition technology. If you are not equipped with this product, you can still download the Manything app, which will simulate your presence at home by automatically switch the lights on when motion is detected. You will only need an iPhone, iPod or iPad that Manything will turn into a Wi-Fi camera.
And don't be surprised anymore by a flooded basement or busted water heater, thanks to the marriage between Philips Hue and D-Link's Wi-Fi Water Sensor. The light will flicker if a water leak is detected.
For the constant gardeners
The Philips Hue light bulb can also be connected with Parrot Flower Power, a smart sensor which can be planted close to a plant to measure its growth and ensure its good health. If your plant needs water, your light will change to green and if it needs more sun exposure, it will change to blue.
To stop forgetting about the washing machine
This recipe can be very useful to facilitate daily life. It will make your lights blink when a cycle ends or when the washer is finished! To make it happen, you will have to be equipped with a Samsung washer or a Wi-Fi enabled dishwasher from GE Appliances.
Wake me up before you go go (Bonus app)
This last app will change your life if you have trouble waking up in the morning. Imagine how your life would be if coffee was made automatically and if you were aroused from sleep gently by a progressive light? Stop dreaming about it and do it! A recipe associates the Philips Hue products with the energy monitor Smappee. It will detect that the coffeemaker was turned on and automatically turn on the lights in your bedroom.
Discover more than 200 applications on IFTTT.com
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