Five ways to train the Philips Hue to act automagically

That new car smell wore off, and now you're left wondering if the Hue is just a glorified light bulb. Sulk no more -- here are five ways to get more out of your smart light bulbs.

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You geeked out. You showed your friends how crazy it is that you can make the living room purple using your phone. But now, the novelty has worn off and you're wondering, "Why did I buy this again?"

Because the Philips Hue is so much more than a glorified light bulb. In the latest release of the Hue software (coming to Android by October), Philips added a slew of innovative features that finally make the Hue as useful as it is fun.

Remote access
Before you can enjoy all of the Hue's features, you'll have to set up remote access. The quick configuration will let you control your lights from anywhere, and allow your phone to interact with the portal even when it's not on the Wi-Fi network.

Setup is simple:

  • Launch the Hue app and swipe up from the bottom to reveal the bulb controller menu. Tap the Settings button in the upper-left corner.
  • Tap Login to portal, and your browser will launch.
  • If you haven't already, register for a Hue account. Otherwise, sign in with your existing account. Immediately, you'll be asked to grant the Hue remote access. Accept.

When the process is complete, head back to the Hue app, and you're set. Now you can control your lights, even when you're miles away. You've also just unlocked a bunch of awesome features. Read on.

Apple

IFTTT, an automation service we're fans of at How To , lets you create reactionary tasks for your Hue bulbs. To get started, head to ifttt.com/hue and click "Activate." If you don't have one already, you'll be asked to create an IFTTT account.

When your Hue and IFTTT accounts are linked up, head back to ifttt.com/hue and check out some of the awesome recipes users have already created.

Other apps

Six months after the Hue's launch, Philips released an API and SDK for iOS. In other words, third-party developers could introduce new Hue features and apps that Philips won't.

What's come of it has been pretty impressive. Take Hue Disco, for example. The iOS app prompts the Hue bulbs to pulse in various colors and intervals based on you custom program, or in tune with music.

In the Google Play store, Hue Pro touts itself as a better command center than Philips' Hue app, letting users create alarms and timers, and even including a widget for quick lighting control.

The selection of third-party apps leaves quite a bit to be desired, but keep an eye on this space as more developers find creative ways to use the Hue bulbs.

About the author

Sharon Profis is a CNET How To expert who cooks up DIY projects, in-depth guides, and little-known tricks that help you get the most out of your tech. During her four years at CNET, she's covered social media, funky gadgets, and has shared her tech knowledge on CBS and other news outlets.

 

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