And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Well, given how fictional god is this is more about me asking for there to be light in my house and the lights turning on. Nothing particularly supernatural there. Just fucking science, baby.
My sister has an Amazon Alexa/Echo tower thing and it was actually quite fun to ask it questions and get answers [most of the time]. So, I bought a Google Home. It is a nifty little piece of kit. I don’t think it looks as good as Echo, the home is more organic whereas Echo is quite futuristic looking and flashy lights.
The voice control works really well. It’ll be better when Google becomes better at interpreting questions and answering them. The “tell me a joke” feature is amusing.
When I was in the south west I met with a friend and he has an LED light made by Phillips. I am not really one for lights in the house, I lived for years without any lampshades on my ceiling lights, but I like the tech involved in the Philips device. They don’t make the actual model my friend had but they make a similar one. I have a table lamp in the corner of the dining room that I use a lot. It provides just the right amount of light to the centre of the house. I thought I could replace this with a colour lamp. So, I investigated Hue lighting by Philips.
I initially bought a starter pack with E27 connectors on the two bulbs. The expensive bit is the bridge to the home network. There is no need for it to be as expensive as advertised so Philips have added a premium to that device. The individual Hue lights are a reasonable price as long as you want white. The colour devices are expensive, I think.
So, it turns out that most of my ceiling lights are bayonet connectors, not E27. I wasn’t sure where to put the new bulbs! I ended up putting them in the kitchen. So, I had to get some bayonet fixing LED bulbs for other areas of the house.
Now, the main lights in my house are voice or app controlled. The lights up the stairs and by the backdoor along with the bathroom light are still manual. There’s a fan attached to the bathroom light so that one probably can’t go wireless control and the others aren’t used much. I did get the colour lamp for the dining room.
The lamp can be any of the 16 million colours you can get with a 256 graduation of each LED. You can use the app to load a photograph and match the colours from that picture. It’s a good piece of kit. I also believe it can be used to match colours on a television to add mood lighting, but I don’t have a Philips TV and won’t be getting one.
The lights don’t have to be light controlled. The switches still work. If you turn the lights off [at the switch] and then on again the default position is On-100%. This means other people can still use your house if you need them to. They might feel silly talking to Google to get the lights on.
Oh, it did take over an hour to get Google Home to register the Hue Bridge. That was largely because the iOS app has a problem and it only really works via an Android device [this is forgivable given Android is Google]. I was using an online chat help window to figure out how to connect the two systems. The person on the other end of the line was helpful and patient. Especially as I had to download a new app on the Android tablet which, in normal circumstances is easy, but my Play Store had been not been working correctly for a few months. I had to roll back the Play Store software to then be able to download the Home app. This is what took the hour. Google Help were really good and everything is now connected.
It’s still odd asking someone to turn the lights on. I still forget now and then, espeically when leaving a room and I automatically physically turn the light off. Then I wonder why it’s not connected to the network when I get home!
I am looking forward to the some lights turning on automatically when I get home. I’m also looking forward to my parents being in my house and then lights turning on when I come back from the shop or wherever!