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New Philips Hue smart switches have a smart installation aid



While there are many ways to control Philips Hue-connected light – including voice, smartphone or smartwatch – sometimes it's not as convenient as a regular light switch. Now, integration of Zigbee bulbs into a more streamlined smart home is getting easier, and the announcement of a number of new Hue light friends changes at IFA 2018.

Friends of Hue are Philips partner programs, consisting of companies using or integrate with smart bulb technology. For IFA this year, the focus has been on how to control these bulbs as well as the control stand out in the typical home.

So, it's a new series of Friends of Hue smart switches. Illumra, Feller and Busch-Jaeger join the party, with a variety of different models that fit into single and multiple-time wall frames. They also match with existing switches from the same companies, which provides a mixed control panel.

What stands out is how potentially simple installation can be. Like Philips own Hue Tap switch, released back in 2014, the new third party switches are based on EnOcean's battery-powered wireless chipset. This means that the power of pushing the buttons itself is the one that drives the Zigbee signal to the Hue base station.

It seems good, as Hue Tap showed, but Philips Circuit Breaker – even though it is fitted with a self-adhesive backing for wall mounting – does not fit the wall switch design in most homes. It will be taken up this time, and there will be different color choices and different styles to suit what is typical in each market.

For the United States, the great news is Illumra's engagement, since the other smart switches the Friends of Friends of Hue will all offer European-style devices. Niko and Vimar, who previewed their switches earlier this year, will get them on the store shelves in October 2018. Busch-Jaeger, Illumra and Feller will follow "in the coming months," says Philips.

At the same time there has also been a new series of Friends of Hue Partners in the Smart Fittings category. Kichler, Imoon MAKRIS, Koizumi and John Lewis come on board with connected luminaires by themselves, all integrated with the same Hue app. It also means that you can control them with voice with smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo.


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