Philips Hue: On a mission to brighten your home security

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Philips Hue, one of the shining stars in the smart bulb cosmos, is renowned for its top-tier Zigbee lights. But now, the firm is set to illuminate a new path, venturing into an entirely different sector of the smart home galaxy: security cameras. Information gleaned from the most recent version of the Hue app for Android reveals that Philips Hue is expanding its smart home repertoire. The company, well-known for bringing a splash of colour to our living rooms, will soon be bringing a dash of safety to our homes.

Philips Hue cameras on the horizon

Set to be announced in the imminent future, the new line-up of security cameras could potentially feature up to four devices on launch day. While the exact details of the cameras remain under wraps, the expected price of each model has already been leaked. We also know that three of the four cameras will be available in either black or white.

Wi-Fi harmonized with a splash of Zigbee and Bluetooth

It's not only the Android application that's spilling the beans like a bungling magician revealing his secrets. Thanks to the eagle-eyed scrutiny of the security camera's FCC certification, we've discerned that they will be flaunting Zigbee and Bluetooth radios in addition to their high-bandwidth Wi-Fi connectivity. However, without any official explanation as to the purpose of these three radios, we're left to our own devices, pun intended, to ponder their potential uses.

Zigbee, despite its catchy moniker, isn't exactly the Usain Bolt of bandwidth. It would struggle to stream a video if its life depended on it. The evidence is clear as day in the case of Aqara; Zigbee can't even muster the strength to support their FP2 presence sensor. The most plausible hypothesis? The Zigbee antenna will likely be used to link up with a Philips Hue Hub, enabling the security camera to double as a motion sensor and trigger lights without jumping through hoops. Another possibility worth considering is its use as a Zigbee router, though this would probably be confined to the wired models. As for Bluetooth, it's likely going to play a supporting role in the initial setup of the cameras, nothing more, nothing less.

Unfortunately, these cameras are steadfastly Wi-Fi exclusive. The wired models stubbornly refuse to entertain access or power over Ethernet. This is a bit of a damp squib, as security cameras are notorious bandwidth hogs, and an Ethernet connection could provide a more stable, and potentially high-quality, image stream. Alas, it seems in this digital drama, not all characters are willing to play nice.

A wired Philips Hue security camera
The wired version of the Philips Hue security camera
The battery-powered version of the Philips Hue security camera

Echoing the Nest: a security camera with magnetic charm

Our first glimpse at these security cameras unveils a key decision-making factor for buyers: the design. It's undeniable that the leaked model bears an uncanny resemblance to Google's Nest Cam Indoor, a design approach that is far from coincidental. The camera sports a magnetic base, a nifty feature which will allow you to orient the camera in whatever way you want. The base serves as the camera's anchor, a steadfast connection that holds firm even when the high seas of life get a bit choppy. The camera attaches to this base using robust magnets. However, the base seems to be a one-trick pony, offering no further functions. The power cable, rather like a forgotten party streamer, dangles from the camera itself.

An image of a Philips Hue security camera taken from the Hue app for Android
A Philips Hue security camera as seen in the Android app

The battery-powered iteration of the model sports a similar design, with one minor difference: it appears to be roughly 50% longer. This increase in length allows for the accommodation of a large battery pack, which hopefully offers a lengthy run time before needing to be recharged.

What is a security system without door and window sensors?

Think back to all those suspenseful Apple events where they delight us with an unexpected “one more thing”. Playing a similar tune, Philips Hue isn't ready to hang up their boots just yet with their upcoming catalogue of security cameras. Piling on to the intrigue, they're about to roll out a new addition to smart home security – Zigbee-enabled contact sensors.

These nifty little gadgets can be affixed to your doors and windows, serving as the vigilant eyes of your household. Just like a guard dog that alternates between snoozing and prowling, these sensors adjust their function based on whether your house is set to armed or unarmed within the Hue app. If the leaked images are anything to go by, these petite devices appear to be powered by one or two AAA batteries. But don't be deceived by their size. I'm expecting these pocket rockets to boast a battery life that stretches on for years.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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