One of the first home automation products to make it into Apple Stores was Philips Hue lighting. App-controlled, Philips Hue showcased many of the promises of home automation, while also pointing out the issues inherent in a market without standards. Apple hopes to get home automation device manufacturers marching in sync towards a Siri-controlled future through its HomeKit framework, and today Philips helped out by introducing the second-generation Hue Bridge (US$59.99).
The Bridge is compatible with both HomeKit and Siri, and works with other connected home platforms as well. Philips Lighting CEO Eric Rondolat noted that "Lighting is the most accessible aspect of the connected home, and as the lighting expert for the Internet of Things we are taking connected lighting to the next phase. By integrating Philips Hue with Apple HomeKit, we are broadening people's experience of light beyond what has been previously possible, providing seamless interoperability with other connected home devices."
HomeKit devices we've worked with so far are equipped with apps that provide a way to set up "homes", "rooms" and "scenes", with Siri control available for all, single, or multiple devices. The Bridge opens the door to making it possible to ask Siri to "wake up the house", which would turn on house lights, turn up the heat, and turn on a coffeemaker.
Expect to see the Philips Hue Bridge in online retail stores in Europe and North America on October 6.