On our most recent IoT podcast, Brad called in to the IoT voicemail hotline with a question about colored smart lights: He wants to know why anyone would want them and what can you do with them?
I’ll admit that I long felt that colored bulbs were overrated. Over the years, I’ve outfitted my smart home with tunable white lights for that reason.
However, installing and using Philips Hue Play Bar lights and the Hue Sync earlier last year “showed me the light”, as it were. Those products work together to synchronize the colors of television programming and games to provide a wall of additional colors, making for a more immersive experience.
For example, she has had a colored smart light in her closet tied to a weather service. If the outdoor temps are below 35-degrees, that light turns blue, suggesting that she choose a warmer outfit for the day. Another specific example is when Stacey was waiting for an email from school that would tell her if her daughter was cast for a play. Instead of checking the Inbox every few minutes, she set up a special automation that when an email arrived from the director, her lights would flash green.
Another use is for when calls or texts arrive from specific people. In a prior job, Stacey’s lights would flash red when her editor was trying to contact her by text message. This “Batphone” automation indicated that she should pretty much drop everything and circle back to her editor.
These colored light automations go beyond productivity though.
Stacey’s husband set one up for when his favorite sports team would score a point so he could at least understand if his team was scoring or getting shut out. And since it’s easier to see red lights in a smoky environment, you could always link smart colored lights to your connected smoke detector: When the smoke alarm sounds, some or all of the lights in your home can change to a red color, helping you to navigate your way out.
I’ve set up some ambient notifications as well, although these were mostly one-off solutions. A few years ago, I created a little Python script to check the price of cryptocurrencies. When the price was up, I had a bulb turn green and when it was down, the light became red. These days, however, I tend to use colored bulbs for the entertainment factor, watching movies with the entire wall lighting up to enhance the experience.
Other examples and ideas for using different colors in smart bulbs could be for holiday lighting or just some unique ambiance when reading, dining, or relaxing. I’m sure readers have other unique ideas as well, so hopefully we’ll read about them in the comments.
To hear Brad’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: