Philips Opens Hue Connected Lighting To Devs With iOS API

Philips has opened up its hue LED lighting system to external developers, allowing coders outside of the company to tap into the multicolored wireless bulbs and link them into new apps and web services. The new hue API, as well as an iOS app development kit, will allow for hue-compatible apps – such as custom color temperature systems for photographers, color alerts linked with social networks like Facebook, and more – to be released directly into the App Store. Meanwhile, Philips too is working on adding native features, some of which we can expect in the next few months.

In addition to software and web links, hue's new-found openness will allow it to integrate more cohesively with other home automation devices. Each of the bulbs – which hide multicolor LEDs underneath the frosted glass casing – has its own ZigBee radio for mesh-networking; that not only talks to the hue ethernet base station, but can communicate with other ZigBee devices such as security kit.

It won't be an Apple-only affair, either. Philips is starting off with the iOS toolkit, but already has a controller app for Android, and says platforms other than Apple's will be getting APIs next. This Friday, March 15, meanwhile, Philips will sponsor a hue developer day intended to get more ideas off the ground.

As for Philips' own functionality, the company continues to work on its official hue app. In the pipeline are smart scheduling and geo-fencing, Philips tells us, which will allow more comprehensive automation control over what lights come on automatically and when, and lighting schemes that are turned on and off whenever a user comes into proximity of the home.

We've more on hue in our full review.