Smart Lightbulbs: The Future, Or Just Madness?

It has been interesting to watch the reaction to Philips launching their new “Hue” lightbulbs, which connect to the internet and can be controlled from an iPhone app.

It’s easy to see why some people might think this is complete madness; just read the comments on the Telegraph article on the bulbs, or for a more irreverent view, check out Bitterwallet’s thoughts. For starters, despite the electricity savings claimed (they use 20% of the electricity of standard bulbs), the £49 per bulb (or £179 for a starter pack, with 3 bulbs and the internet connection equipment) will mean it will take time to see any financial benefits.

Another selling feature is that you can use your iPhone to adjust the colour and brightness of your bulbs to match the colour scheme from your favourite photo, should you wish. This is probably more a case of using your phone as an interface to change your lighting (Philips call this “personal wireless lighting”), rather than wishing to be able to do this remotely, but does anyone really want to do this?

Also, the fact that Philips Hue Lightbulbs are only available via the Apple Store has really pleased the Apple fanboi bashers.

I can tell you’re not yet convinced. Take a look at Hue in action, it might change your mind:

So, these bulbs might not be right for everyone, and are probably far too pricey to be of any use, but do they not point to the house of the future?

Switching on and off lightbulbs is just the start; eventually, you’ll be able to control all of your devices through your phone, switching on your washing machine from work or making sure that your TV is off when you’re out of the house, for example. You can already put your heating and hot water on remotely thanks to an app from British Gas.

So what do you think? Will we all control our homes from our smartphones in the future? Will it save us money, or just cost us more to buy all the internet-enabled gadgets? Or this just one of those ideas that has been predicted for a while but never actually happens (like hoverboards)? Let us know in the comments below.

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