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Philips Hue updates existing lights with Matter, launches new security cameras
- Philips Hue announced that existing products will be upgraded to Matter in September.
- Hue also announced a new home security solution with security cameras and open/close sensors.
- The security cameras are geared toward privacy and integrate with Hue’s lighting solutions.
Signify, Philips Hue’s parent company, just made a bunch of announcements at IFA 2023. The most important one for existing Hue users is that Matter is finally making its way to your lights to simplify smart home integrations with other platforms.
Your existing Hue Bridge will get an update in September with Matter.
As expected, Matter isn’t coming to individual lights, but to the Hue Bridge. A small distinction on paper, but it shouldn’t matter in real use as the Bridge will carry all your lights with it. The update will roll out in September and shouldn’t require anything on your part — unless you’ve disabled automatic updates, in which case you’ll have to manually accept this one.
The second crucial announcement came out of the blue: Hue is now into smart home security. The company says that it sees lights as an important part of security, not just entertainment, and that cameras and open/close sensors make sense when you consider that Hue has offered motion sensors and presence-mimicking light routines for years now. I can’t fault the logic there and when I think about it, it’s logical for both product categories to be tightly linked.
Three new cameras are part of the portfolio, all with 1080p video recording, night vision, and outdoor rating. The Philips Hue Secure wired camera costs €199.99/£174.99, while the battery camera costs €249.99/£219.99. They both come in black or white, offer multiple mounts (including a ground spike!), and will be available this autumn. A third Hue Secure floodlight camera offers a powerful floodlight along with the camera, comes in black, and costs €349.99/£299.99. It’ll be available in Q1 2024.
The cameras offer end-to-end encryption and 100% local detection for people, animal, package, and vehicle.
Hue is emphasizing the privacy aspect of these cameras. Videos are end-to-end encrypted, uploaded to Hue’s Secure servers, and only accessible by your account (and whichever family accounts you authorize). The cameras offer 100% local, private, and fast smart detection between people, animals, packages, and vehicles. You can set up complete blackout zones that are never recorded to begin with, and high-activity zones that can be recorded but for which you don’t get any notifications. Think of a busy street or an area with random lights and shadows.
The other selling point is the cameras’ integration with Hue’s existing ecosystem. When you’re home and the cameras detect motion, they can turn on your lights; but if the system is armed and detects an intrusion, it can turn your lights red or flash them or strobe a bright white light. You can also trigger a sound alarm. If this isn’t an intrusion and you’re simply expecting a visitor or package, you can start a two-way conversation.
The cameras work as standalone security cams, but you’ll need a Hue Bridge if you want to implement any light automations or connect them to motion sensors or the new open/close sensors. And yes, the Hue app will be updated with a new Secure tab that lets you see the timeline of past events, check the current livestream, and control all of these new capabilities.
To get the most out of the cameras, you have to pay a monthly fee. And these don't integrate with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa yet.
As expected, these require a paid plan to get the most out of them. You could use them for free, but that’s limited to live streaming — no AI detection, no event recordings, and no activity zones. The Basic plan costs €3.99/£3.99 per camera per month and offers 30 days of storage, while the Plus plan supports multiple cameras (up to 10) and offers 60 days of video history for €9.99/£8.99. All cameras come with a 30-day plan trial, so you can see what’s up before committing.
When it comes to third-party smart home integrations, nothing seems to be implemented yet. But Hue said it’s looking at Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatibility first. Apple HomeKit integration will only come once Matter supports security cameras.
In addition to these cameras, Philips Hue is introducing a new Secure contact sensor, which is a versatile open/close sensor for windows, doors, and cabinets. The versatility is due to the magnetized part, which can be placed on the right, left, or top of the main part. It will be available in black and white and will cost €39.99/£34.99.
Hue also announced a new MR16 spotlight in white (€34.99/£29.99) or color ambiance (€64.99/£54.99), as well as an updated Festavia lineup with outdoor rating and both longer and shorter strings (100 LEDs, 250 LEDs, and 500 LEDs) which starts at €119.99/£109.99 and goes up to €359.99/£319.99. These will all be available this autumn.