Philips Lighting Extends Hue into Motion Sensing

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By Jonathan Collins | 1Q 2017 | IN-4401

Philips Lighting launched a new device to extend the functionality and integration of its core smart home lighting range—Hue—into motion sensing and automated operations.

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Philips Lighting Adds Hue Motion Sensor


Philips Lighting launched a new device to extend the functionality and integration of its core smart home lighting range—Hue—into motion sensing and automated operations. 

Battery Powered Motion and Light Sensing


The new Hue motion sensor is a battery powered, wireless device that can be deployed around a home (up to 12 sensors for a single Hue bridge). As with traditional motion sensors, the sensor uses IR to detect movement and a light sensor to determine ambient light levels around the area. Those features enable the device to determine not just motion, but the levels that any triggered lights should be set to when they turn on. For example, during the day when there is enough natural light in an area to make turning Hue lights on pointless, the lighting sensor ensures that the lights stay off.  However, if the end user wants the lights to be activated during the night at a very low level to aid walking around without disturbing others in the house, the light sensor can support that, as well.

The new Philips Hue motion sensor is designed to be mounted or left freestanding, and should get two years operation from the two AAA batteries required for its operation. The device started shipping 4Q 2016, retailing at around US$40.

Taking Control of the Automated Smart Home


Philips Hue has been the breakout product for off-the-shelf smart home lighting. Through its ZigBee wireless connected smart LED bulbs and lighting strips, the company won over a swath of smart home consumers to the Hue family of products, and in many cases, introduced the concept of smart home functionality.

Linking Hue lighting to motion sensing has long been possible. Like other smart Home device players, Philips worked to have its offerings integrated with as many other smart home devices and management systems as possible. Hue can be controlled through any number of integrations with systems such as SmartThings, Wink, ITTT, and many others.

Its move also signals a wider shift in smart home environments. The Hue sensors are dependent upon adoption of the Hue lights. These are not motion sensors in the traditional sense but new sensors dedicated to a single device/function implementation. Netatmo has a similar approach with its Tags, which also act as motion detectors but in this case through detecting movement of objects they are attached to. Like the Hue sensor, the Netatmo Tag only works with additional Netatmo devices—in this case the Netatmo Welcome camera.

At first glance, this tends to suggest a traditional market development where vendors look not only to expand the appeal of a core offerings by adding additional functionality and to also grow its device footprint and revenues within its existing user base. But in the smart home market, there are additional aspects to this development.

Firstly, tighter integration, especially when it comes to security applications, can help appeal to the installer market that is currently torn between supporting existing offerings and integrating the more consumer recognized smart home DIY devices. More than anything though, these product extensions speak to the complexity that still confronts consumers in setting up smart home systems and the frustration leading vendors have with that state of affairs. Management through a smartphone app is not enough to drive mass smart home appeal. However, the more devices and applications can adjust themselves by sensing their surroundings, the more valuable these devices will be to end users. Where open systems and integration failed, leading device vendors are stepping in to deliver that functionality albeit with vertically integrated offerings.


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