Dumb smart lights

by - October 09, 2023

Let's take a break from my IVF and pregnancy experience to talk about stupid home automation. We have lights and hub from the Phillips Hue range on a tech friend's recommendation. The Phillips Hue Bridge connects to and controls the Phillips smart bulbs - there are more advanced options with motion sensors, but we wanted to start with the basics.

I love the idea of home automation in theory. The reality is, that you probably need programming skills to set up actually smart home automation. The current settings and rule options in our "smart" lights remind me of clunky eCommerce store sales rules logic where a programmer built what they could and not what they should, limiting the options to end users like me.

We wanted to set up smart lights that would:

  1. Turn on at sunset each day. Tick.
  2. Fade and turn off by a certain time of night. Took 5 routines to set this fading effect up, but - tick.
  3. Turn on when one of us comes home after dark. No tick.

I didn't think it'd be impossible to set the lights to only turn on when it's dark / after a certain time but apparently, it is. The option was to turn on the lights regardless of the time of day whenever one of us arrived home, or nothing at all. Our house is bright and we don't use lights during the day so we opted for nothing at all. Otherwise, we'd end up turning the lights off multiple times a day instead of turning the lights on occasionally when we arrive home after the fade and turnoff routines have run at night.

Hopefully, the software will improve over time. For now, we've settled with having dumb smart lights with limited usage and Boyfriend Pham just yells at Google to turn the lights on. I'm waiting for maternity leave to remove work apps from my personal phone so I can enable Google Assistant voice activation - currently, they're disabled for work security reasons and I'm too lazy to carry around two mobile devices so I sacrifice my right to Google voice. Dumb, smart me.

You May Also Like