Hue products are known for their reliability, ease of use, and integration with third-party solutions. However, they typically require a Zigbee hub to function, which makes a Hue setup quite pricey if you're only looking at buying a couple of bulbs. The competition has long offered lights that connect directly to a Wi-Fi router or your phone over Bluetooth, and Philips is finally giving in by announcing a range of bulbs that don't need a hub to function — even though they can also work with one.
Connected "smart" lighting is far from a new concept, but in late-2012, Philips released the first Hue lightbulb which became the blueprint for a new category in an old market. It was no longer enough for lights to turn on at a scheduled time or with a clunky wireless remote, they had to become smarter, more efficient, more flexible, and we wanted to control them with our smartphones. But a product of this type lends itself to variations, special features, and stylistic choices beyond those of the original innovation. This brings us to the Yeelight, a Bluetooth-enabled bedside lamp with a stylish look, simple controls, and a couple of clever features to go along with it.
Piper is a nifty little gadget that combines a number of recently deployed technologies to create a connected and hyper-aware home automation hub. The project has been getting a lot of press since it appeared on Indiegogo a couple of weeks ago, and it passed its $100,000 funding goal today. There's another twenty days before the project ends, so the creators won't be wanting for funds.
Piper is essentially is a little box that's stuffed with a ton of sensors and WiFi connectivity, making it the hub of a connected house. It functions as a security and monitoring tool first and foremost, thanks to a panning wide-angle webcam and microphone.