What Occurs When Software is Dumb and Smart Bulbs are Combined?

The Philips Hue app could be better.

What occurs when software is dumb and smart bulbs are combined?

Philips has the greatest app on the market because it is the most established brand in smart lighting. The app would triumph over its rivals after more than a decade of iterative upgrades and advanced technology. Sadly, for myself and every other Hue user, the corporation appears to have dozed off while operating the vehicle.

In 2013, I purchased a Hue starting kit and some extra Lux bulbs, and I was impressed with the setup for at least ten minutes. It quickly became one of those tools you use to demonstrate the potential of your smart home to guests. They also rapidly grew tired of my capacity to switch the lighting color in my living room from white to purple and back again. The limited amount of usage I gave the bulbs—mostly as gilded dimmer switches—was insufficient to justify the expensive initial purchase.

The software started requesting that I switch from the v1 (round) Bridge to the v2 (square) model at some point. I twitched, already resentful that Hue was all mouth and no pants. I disliked having to pay when the current method operated flawlessly. I could have integrated myself into Philips’ ecosystem by using that money to purchase more Hue lamps.

What occurs when software is dumb and smart bulbs are combined?

When one (or both) of my kids eventually broke the Bridge when I was out of the room, no one cried. I decided to throw the box in the garbage and be done with it after a brief bout of Marie Kondo-ing brought on by the COVID-19 lockdown. After all, it was damaged, and changing the color of my lights did not bring me the delight I had hoped for. In addition, Philips like charging a lot of money to have your lighting coordinated with a TV movie.

I explained the matter to my wife last month when she questioned why we couldn’t use Hue anymore. After finding a second-generation Bridge on Facebook Marketplace for half the price at retail, she inquired about the cost of fixing it. So, we bought it, clearly conducting the customary security checks on used IoT equipment before connecting it to our network.

However, that’s when the issues started because you can only login into your current Hue account, connect it to the new Bridge, and then you’re done. The idea that it could be beneficial to provide the capability to resurrect an account connected to a dead bridge has never occurred to anyone at Philips. Nothing can be connected without a new login, and the lamps are connected to the previous one. Additionally, the software doesn’t offer an option to reset a bulb hard or do anything other than have you stare at a splash screen.

I did consider whether I had spent money purchasing a new Bridge, never to be able to bring things back to functioning order for approximately thirty minutes. I had the kind of annoyance and helplessness that one experiences when their phone runs out of juice and they are locked out of a building at two in the morning in a foreign city. Because my Bridge wasn’t connected to the internet, my login was unsuccessful. A fresh login will confirm the existence of the pricey devices scattered across my home. My hands began to itch a lot.

The worst part is that many Hue apps are available from third parties, so others have discovered how poor Philips’ software development is. The number and depth of Hue apps accessible is a big condemnation of Philips’ shoddy app development, just like charity is an indictment of the state. You’re being paid to do this, yet the app doesn’t include a function to address what would be a rather typical issue.

I selected Hue Lights, one of the numerous independent apps that enabled the hard resetting of a bulb. I had to switch on each bulb individually and pull each one up close to the Bridge (have a lamp nearby). Then, by some magic, I could reconnect them to the new Bridge and begin using them with the official Hue app. I’ll be honest: I don’t want to because it is simpler and more powerful than the official Philips app while being a third party. You should try it if you haven’t already, at least until Philips gets their act together.