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Use IFTTT and Philips Hue Lightbulbs to Set the Mood

May 1, 2017

You don’t have to be a “power user” to find great uses for your Philips Hue smart light bulbs.

The Goal

The Goal

The goal of this exercise is to change the color of my Philips Hue bulbs in ways that are easy to get running, and that I don’t have to ever think about once I’ve set them up. I specifically want to change my bulb’s status based on the weather and time of day.

The weather-based possibilities are quite extensive with IFTTT. Below are examples using rain and pollen levels as triggers, but you can also set rules based on high or low temperatures, humidity levels, UV index, wind speed, or even the forecast for tomorrow.

In these examples, we’re going to do this with a single bulb (my desk lamp), but it can be expanded to work with however many light bulbs you have in your home.

The Tools

The Tools

Obviously you will need at least 1 Philips Hue lightbulb and the Hue Bridge. Philips has 2 bridge models, and the old and new ones both work with this setup.

You will also need an IFTTT account in order to trigger your Hue actions. IFTTT is a free service, and you can sign up in just a minute or two.

The Process

The Process

I’m going to assume you already have your Hue light(s) set up, so we’ll jump into the IFTTT setup right away. Go to the Philips Hue page on IFTTT and click “Connect” to give IFTTT access to send commands to your Hue account.

Next go to the Weather Underground page on IFTTT and connect this service. You don’t need a WU account, and the setup is simply entering what location you want to pull weather data from. Once you save the setting, you’re good to go. Now let’s take a look at the rule I’m using.

1. Turn my Hue bulb blue when it is about to start raining.

If this: Weather Underground

then that: Philips Hue

This is my favorite integration, and it helps me know if it’s just about to start raining. Tell Weather Underground to use the “Current condition changes to” trigger:

And then select the “Change color” action under Hue. You can tell IFTTT whatever color you want to use, and you can either write out a color by name (“blue” for example) or use the hex value if you want to get really granular.

You can set the name of the Applet whatever you want, and then save. Now your light will turn blue right as it starts to rain. I’m not always by a window to simply look outside, so this subtle notification is convenient for me.

2. Turn my Hue light green when the pollen count is high

I suffer from really obnoxious seasonal allergies, so pollen count is something I like to be aware of. To help with this, I have another IFTTT rule set up to turn my desk lamp green when the pollen count gets absurdly high.

If this: Weather Underground

then that: Philips Hue

Tell Weather Underground to use the “Current pollen count rises above” trigger.

And then use the same Hue rule as before, but se the color to something else. I personally use green. Easy, right?

3. Flash my lights rainbow colors when it's time to get ready for work in the morning

This is a simple one, but it is a subtle way for me to let myself know it’s time to stop messing around on the internet and start getting ready for work.

If this: Date & Time

then that: Hue

You know the drill by now! Set the time to whatever time you need, and choose what days of the week you work so this only triggers on your work days.

Then select Hue’s “Turn on color loop” action.

Now your light will start looping through the entire color spectrum. It’s ever so slightly obnoxious, and it forces me to get out of my groove and turn off the light. That’s usually enough for me to get distracted enough from what I’m doing to stop that and get ready for the day.

Those are just 3 examples of simple but effective ways to start taking advantage of your Philips Hue light bulbs. This is the tip of the iceberg, and I highly suggest you take a look at the Philips Hue page on IFTTT for even more inspiration for what can be done.