Colorful, connected with Alexa and Siri and able to learn – smart lighting systems like Philips Hue, Osram Lightify, Elgato Avea and Ikea Tradfri conquer the apartments. Awaqa presents the most important systems.
Cold light for waking up, warm white lighting at dinner or red flashing lightning in the case of burglary – smart lighting systems can be far more than just light on the and off.
Networked with digital assistants like Apple’s Homekit or Amazon Alexa you do not even need to wipe the smartphone. Few words are enough and the light is dimmed, polar colors reflect from the wall, or a simulated sunrise replaces the daylight alarm clock.
From Philipps Hue to Ikea Tradfri – the market of smart lighting systems is growing steadily. PC-WELT examines the four most exciting smart lighting systems.
Philips Hue – the stag
Adhesive light strips, lamps for the table and various bulbs with E27 and GU10 sockets – the Hue family from Philips is the pioneer among the smart lighting systems. Especially those who want to illuminate more than one room smart should take a look at the system.
The heart of the system is the Philips Hue Bridge. This is directly connected to the router and opens the network to the Internet, which connects to the bridge via the compatible ZigBee wireless standard and acts as a repeater. Amazon Echo (Alexa), IFFFT, the all-round remote Logitech Harmony or Apple’s Homekit will be part of Philips Hue. A short voice command is enough, and Siri switches on the light. Philips Hue also integrates the smart home solution from Bosch.
By default, you use Philips Hue but with a smartphone app, which is available for Android and iOS. A variety of colors can be selected on a setting wheel, color profiles can be stored in various rooms or a daylight wake-up service can be set up. There are also many other apps for Hue from other vendors.
Philips also sells a remote control to operate Hue. All this costs its price. For the Starterset, consisting of Bridge and three E27 lamps, about 160 euros are due.
If you want to sniff into the world of Philips Hue, the dimmerset without a bridge is an option. For around 35 euros you can try out whether dimmable light is the right thing for you. However, it is currently not possible to change the light color. If you like Hue, you can buy the bridge and other lights and extend the dimmer set.
Osram Lighting – Light source for slim sockets
Osram is also based on the ZigBee standard and the manufacturer’s lamps can also be controlled via the Philips Hue Bridge. As an alternative, Osram has its own gateway in the portfolio, which, however, can not reach the water of Philips in terms of IoT compatibility, of which Apple home kit users can sing a song.
However, this is not intended to diminish the functionality of the system too much. The Lightify app, though not yet very reliable, does not have much fun. Users can adjust the color temperature with a wiping movement, activate color changes in an endless loop, dim lights, or define lighting schedules.
What is pleasing is that Osram – in contrast to the competition – offers smart light bulbs with E14 scokel. Many users of a Philips Hue Bridge are likely to access here. The starter kit from Osram (Gateway with LED light bulb) is already available for under 70 Euros.
Elgato Avea – less hardware is more
If you do not want to have a lot of installation work or want to illuminate only minor parts of your home, Elgato Avea is an exciting alternative. Unlike Philips and Osram, this system does not communicate the luminaires via a central bridge but are directly connected to the mobile terminal via Bluetooth LE. Up to ten Avea lamps can be controlled with a smartphone.
Tip: Owners of older smartphones should check whether their device supports Bluetooth LE before purchasing.
After the Elgato Avea app has been installed on the smartphone or Smartwatch, the user can choose from a variety of moods such as aurora, cherry blossom or chimney fire. Other functions such as a daylight alarm with morning birdsong are also on board.
Altogether, Alvea offers several candles. The networked light bulb Avea Bulb brings into the living room for almost 40 Euro lumen. This does not replace floodlight but suffices as a mood maker. If you do not want cables, gets for the double the battery-powered Lichtei Avea Flare.
Ikea Tradfri – Real keys are better than IoT
“In the digital age smart bulbs can not be missing in the portfolio,” thought Ikea, stamping out the smart lighting system Tradfri from the ground. In contrast to the other manufacturers, Ikea is not the app, but a white ufof-shaped remote control in the center. With it, you can dim and turn on / off a total of ten lights. Ikea has a range of 10 meters outdoors.
Already for 25 euro, Ikea sells a set of a dimmable luminaire, which can even change their light color, and a suitable remote control. A base station is not required for this: simply screw the Tradfri light into a lamp holder and operate the remote control. You can not only control the brightness with the dimmer but also adjust the color to the desired mood. We have tested this Ikea Smart Lighting Trådfri dimmer setting.
In addition to sets with dimmer, motion sensor or remote control, there is also an app with an app that follows the same approach as Philips and Osram. The lamps communicate with the Tradfri app via a central gateway. Dimming, group switching, preset lighting moods or timers – all of this works just as comfortably as with the competition.
Thanks to the ZigBee standard, the system is also compatible with other ZigBee products. However, there is no public API yet. But Ikea, on his homepage, is working on an open system.
Conclusion on smart lighting systems
Even if the systems look very similar at first glance, they could not be in terms of IoT compatibility, installation effort, and price.
If you want to control your lighting with Apple Home or Amazon Alexa, it is difficult to pass Philips Hue. The scaled-down and the cheaper variant is called Osram Lightyfy. Those who prefer to use a physical remote or want to use a cheap dimmable dimmer set should stop at the next Ikea visit to the lighting department. And all those who do not want to linger long and need a little smart people for the room may be happy with Elgato Avea.