The Phillips brand smart light bulb operating system Phillips Hue blocks out third-party light bulbs, effectively making the OS work with only Phillips brand bulbs.
The household brand Phillips has made this move rather abruptly, leaving consumers who want to use the Phillips Hue able to do so only if they are willing to pay a rather hefty price towards a Phillips bulb. The company claims that this is due to the fact that several complaints emerged when using third-party light fixtures, creating a somewhat misconception that the OS itself was the problem, not the fixture in question.
The trend of having a fully controlled home through your smart device has gained increased popularity over the past few years. Because of this, Phillips is trying to maintain its image, remaining a trustworthy company that ships out products without any faults.
The bulb themselves communicate with other devices through a language known as Zigbee, basically making an interconnection net across your home, between your smart TV, your light bulbs, your routers and more. In order to maintain a strong connection without any flaws in its system, Phillips blocked the third-party bulbs because they allegedly caused interconnectivity issues.
But this operating system will not be exclusive to Phillips brands. The company has announced that it will implement a program named “Friends of Hue” which allows other companies’ light bulbs to work with the OS. But this will only be available if the devices in question pass through rigorous tests made by Phillips themselves in order to prove their suitability.
Even so, by blocking the option of cheaper and sometimes even better light bulbs, Phillips may have alienated a rather hefty part of its consumer base. If the company really intends to create a complete Hue reliant household, it should accept that some companies might be better than them in some areas.
Because up until now, household appliances worked independently of one another, regardless of their difference in brands, the idea of a completely automated house will require a shift in mentality. Most consumers will not accept only one brand of products for their entire home, urging companies to try and create a type of agreement between themselves, so that connectivity issues between their products do not arise.
By basically barring access towards other brands, companies may suffer a massive decrease in income if they choose to focus mainly on automation. The first step towards an alliance between these companies would be to agree on a single way of communication between their devices, no matter their brand, in order for delays in response, or faults present in understanding the command, to be more or less erased.
Even if now Phillips Hue blocks out third-party light bulbs, with the promise of allowing access from third party devices in the future, the market might suffer an extensive modification process if the idea of a fully automated household starts to gain popularity. This will depend on both the ease of access towards such a home, as well as the pricing point of the various devices required to make an automated home work.