What's new in v22: Philips Hue


#1

Sense has seen the light! :bulb: Literally! Now you can integrate your Philips Hue smart bulbs with your Sense monitor. This has been in the works for a while and is just the start of some coming smart home integrations.

We see two key benefits here:

  1. The Sense app will now recognize your Hue LED bulbs. These have been tough to detect in the past, but now via our integration with Hue, it’s simple. You can see when they turn on or off, their brightness, how much energy they’re using, and all of the historic data you’ve grown accustomed to with Sense

  2. You can now also control your Hue bulbs from the Sense app, our first integration of this kind. This includes turning them on and off, as well as adjusting their brightness. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here and there are already a million other apps where you can control your Hue bulbs, but it’s a convenient inclusion. Checking in with Sense after you left for the day and see you left your bedroom lights on? No need to switch apps. Or set a custom notification to alert you if your lights have been on for too long.

Connecting and Controlling
Connecting to your Philips Hue bridge is easy. Just navigate to Settings > My Home > Connected Devices and select Philips Hue. You’ll need to be at home for this and near your Hue bridge to pair. In addition, your bridge needs to be on the same network and subnet as Sense.

After pairing, Sense will automatically add your Hue lights to your Devices list. This might take a few minutes. Sense will use the same groupings that you have set in the Philips Hue app. So, if those four ceiling fan lights in your living room are grouped as ‘Living Room’ in your Hue app, Sense will show a ‘Living Room Lights’ device that tracks all four bulbs together and controls them as a group.

You can control your Hue bulbs from a couple places in the app. On your Devices list, you’ll see a small button to the right of your Hue device. You can tap this button to turn the lights on or off or long-press it to access full light control with brightness. You can also access your full lighting controls from the Device Details page for that device. Finally, you can even long-press Hue device bubbles in the Now screen to go right to the full control page for that device.

Coming Soon
This is just the beginning of integrations with two-way communications and control within Sense. Hue’s API was well documented and a great one to work with for our first foray into these types of integrations, but rest assured that this opens the doors to many others that we hope to be able to share with you soon. In the meantime, check out this blog post from our CEO, Mike Phillips, and help us out by completing this survey on smart home devices.

A couple caveats
We’re hoping to address all of these in due time, but:

  • You can only connect Sense to one Hue bridge, so if you have multiple Hue bridges, unfortunately you’ll need to pick just one to connect to.
  • Control functionality is not yet available in the Web app. You can still view your Hue devices and see their usage…

Bug fixes

  • Improved messaging with password resets and mistyped email addresses

As always, let us know what you think! We’re very excited about this release.


Why can't you train Sense?
Philips Hue Integration
#2

Great feature. Even though I don’t have any Hue light bulbs this is sweet. One thing I noticed after upgrading the app is that all of my bubbles show a brightness amount on them. So always on looks like the screenshots presented but shows a brightness of 0%. My water heater and garage fridge are the same way. This is on a Pixel 2 XL, the latest version of Android.


#3

I really like the idea of an API integration to improve the usage data for devices that are hard to identify via the powerline but are network connected. Future EVs have potential here.

I wish the development time for the hue control within Sense app had been spent on something else. I can’t think of any practical use and it seems like feature bloat to me.


#4

Ok. Time to do research on hue bulbs. Maybe the tech gadget.


#5

This has been logged and should be fixed in the first patch.

@pswired Many, many of our users also have Philips Hue in their homes (I don’t remember the percentage off the top of my head, but it was one of the highest of other smart home tech for sure). LEDs are very difficult for us to detect, so this was a pretty natural route to detection of one of the most common LEDs our users have. As far as practical uses beyond detection, I’m particularly excited about being able to track my bulbs historically, which the Hue app doesn’t offer. I use HomeKit and while I can look at historic notifications, our Trends section goes much deeper. For me, it feeds less into tracking my energy usage (because LEDs consume so little), and more into the general home awareness side. I’m very curious to see how the rest of our users put the integration to use.

But your first point is one of the most important here: this has laid the infrastructure and the processes for more smart home integrations, many of which can give us the ground truth data we need for improved detection. Even if you don’t have Hue in your home, that is a pretty compelling reason to be happy about this.

@jasonemoyer I really love my Hue bulbs (including the color ones, which are far less gimmicky than I originally envisioned). I used LIFX ones too and was less of a fan. I’m an apartment dweller, so going the Lutron route wasn’t really an option.


#6

Yeah, all my bubbles have brightness 0% now when I tap on them. Also, Day Usage graph figures are way off the first time I look at them, and then revert to normal expected values after looking at a different tab and coming back again.

Day Usage on first look: $9
Day Solar on first look: $8

Day Usage on second look: $3
Day Solar on second look: $3

All I did was go to Bill Usage View and then back to Day…


#7

Love this new feature! I added my Hue bridge downstairs easily.

Now—I’m sure this will make the devs groan, but I actually have two Hue Bridges in my home. I wish I only needed one, but the bridges have various hard limits for the number of lights and switches, so adding a second bridge was the only way to accommodate my home of ~70 hue bulbs and ~20 dimmer switches (and the associated required scenes).

I would love the ability to add multiple bridges to Sense so I can track usage of my whole home!


#8

The first issue will be patched in the next release. The second I have not seen yet. I’m assuming you’re in Trends when you’re seeing this? And I’m guessing Android, since you’re experiencing the 0% issue on all of your bubbles? Any chance you could message me some screenshots?


#9

A lot of bubbles. :slight_smile: I’d like to see the Hue groups/rooms respected at least as an option to perform some auto-merging. For example I don’t think of the two bulbs in the same ceiling fan as separate.


#10

Hmmm…so in your Hue app, do you have Mud Porch as one room?


#11

Yup. I have a number of examples where >1 bulb is part of a logical grouping due to the light fixture itself contains >1 bulbs (e.g. ceiling fan), or multiple fixtures are controlled by one physical switch, or I just want to control all bulbs in the group as a unit.

  • Mud room porch (three lights on one switch)
  • Garage (two lights on one switch, either side of the doors)
  • Front door (two lights on one switch on each side of the door)
  • Family room (two bulbs in a ceiling fan)

I don’t have one myself, but picture people using the candelabra Hue bulbs. Would they want to see six/eight small bubbles for each light in the fixture, or one bubble representing the single light fixture above a dining room table?

There’s probably somewhat of a fundamental debate on whether people would care more about knowing what a single bulb is using versus what their home is using when a single switch is flipped.


#12

Granted, I don’t know anything about the setup of the Hue lights since my other half did it, but I have three bulbs and they just show up in Sense as “Den” (one bubble), which is how they are grouped in the Hue setup. There is also another bulb behind the TV (colored mood lighting for the home theater) that is separate and shows up as a separate bubble.


#13

If you have grouped lighting into rooms in the Hue app, then only room switching should show in Sense. I have 13 Hue bulbs in 3 real rooms, and have every set on the same switch in it’s own Hue “room” (4 rooms since I have two banks of lights in a single real room). All I see is “room” based switching, not individual bulbs, in Sense.


#14

This seems like odd behavior then. These are grouped into Mud Room in the Hue app and not another app like SmartThings or HomeKit? They should all be appearing as one room if they’re under one room in Hue.


#15

Something odd is going on for me then unless I’m overlooking something. I definitely have rooms setup in Hue yet Sense is showing the individual bulbs as devices and bubbles.


#16

If you go to Settings in the Hue app and then Room Setup, do you get an error that any of your rooms are mismatched with another app? Another app may be throwing something off here.


#17

Nope no errors in the room setup.


#18

@RyanAtSense,

Just a sidenote - I suspect that there might be subtle side-effects of you guys tapping into the Hue API. I’ve started to see a new effect in my house since I added the Hue controller to Sense. In Hue-land I have two separate “rooms” for different banks of Hue lights in my physical family room. The four main flood bulbs are actually in the Hue “Family Room” and the two mantle spots are in the “Family Room Mantle” room.

Prior to Sense using the API, I used to be able to re-label the Hue-labeled “Family Room Mantle” lights to my real “Family Room” in HomeKit. Now Hue notices the difference and gives a room setup error, and when I OK the cleanup, it moves the two mantle lights plus presets associated with those lights over to the HomeKit “default room”, since I don’t have a defined “Family Room Mantle” room. I have never had a similar room mismatch error in the previous year I have operated with this setup, so I suspect adding Sense to the API has introduced some integrity checking that HomeKit somehow circumvented.


#19

Nice but…I know Hue is telling Sense when the lights are on/off but to deduce electrical usage can only be a guess and their coming on could coincide with other devices.

Seems like for the development work, this is low return. Hue bulbs are led - low wattage. I would think most people are interested in their toaster ovens, A/C units, heaters and such. I know I am. So, great, I know when my led bulb is on but not my A/C nor my toaster oven? Hmm…


#20

@willowdog,
A different perspective:

  • LED bulbs admittedly are a fairly low draw item - my highest usage room comes in at 60W for the whole 6 bulb bank. Still, Sense never found those bulbs previously so it’s 60W less in the unknown bubble. And unlike incandescent bulbs that have a fairly high power usage variability, Hue bulbs are very well-behaved so the Sense value is not really a guess.
  • Plus the Hue integration is really just a harbinger of better things to come, if you read this blog:
    https://blog.sense.com/hue-integration
    I’m assuming Sense did the Hue integration first because the API was well-defined, well-supported and had easy to use physical authentication (how the Sense gets permission to access the Hue controller data). The blog highlights the benefits of integration with smart thermostats, which I see to be of tremendous benefit for identifying all HVAC related power.

ps: Maybe I’m a little luckier than most - Sense seems to do a good job for us for microwaves, AC, toasters, vacuum cleaners, dryer heating elements, refrigerators, trash compactors, garbage disposals, garage door, plus for even one of our 4 EVs. But I also definitely like forward progress.