Philips Hue Secure Camera Turns Smart Lighting Into DIY Home Security
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Philips Hue Secure Camera Turns Smart Lighting Into DIY Home Security

Jun 23, 2023

Philips Hue is launching new indoor and outdoor cameras, along with door and window sensors, that aim to turn smart lighting into a DIY home security system. The Hue Secure range kicks off with 1080p cameras in wired and battery-powered wireless versions, various mounting options, and an update to the Hue app for reviewing footage and even contacting emergency services if required.

The Hue Secure wired cameras ($199.99, or $229.99 with a desktop stand) and battery cameras ($249.99) will launch in fall 2023, while a Hue Secure floodlight camera with a multicolor light ($349.99) will arrive in Q1 2024. Philips will offer desk and wall mounts and a garden stake mount. When used outside, the cameras can optionally be plugged into Philips' existing low-voltage outdoor lighting system for power.

As well as person, pet, vehicle, and package identification for notifications, there's the ability to set blackout zones where no footage is captured in the frame and activity zones (such as roads) where movement is ignored. All camera versions support end-to-end encryption — enabled by default — with onboard processing for the AI-powered features. There's also 2-way audio.

The Philips Hue Secure Contact Sensor ($39.99 each, or $69.99 for a pack of two) is suitable for doors and windows, with a choice of self-adhesive mount or screws. It supports the contact sensor being positioned on the top, left, or right of the upper end to accommodate different opening types and will also be offered in black or white.

Notifications will be handled by the updated Hue app, which will have a Security Center tab added. That will show a timeline of events, the ability to watch cameras live, to arm/disarm the system, and a "Take Action" screen with options to call 911 or a preconfigured neighbor, turn on the lights, or run a "light alarm" where some or all of the home lights flash white or red.

Although the timeline, notifications with a snapshot, light alarms, and blackout zones will be provided as standard, using activity zones, the AI-powered detection, and video clip storage will require a Philips Hue Secure Plan. The Basic plan ($3.99/mo or $39.99/year per camera) comes with 30 days of clip storage; the Plus plan ($9.99/mo or $99.99/year for up to 10 cameras) doubles that to 60 days.

When the system is disarmed, the cameras (which don't transmit video, only spot movement) and contact sensors can be used for convenience features. That could be turning on the lights in a hallway when the door is opened or triggering devices on other platforms. Google and Amazon integration is coming, and Philips says Apple HomeKit integration will come when Matter is updated to support cameras.

As for Matter, a software update is coming in September 2023, which will update the Hue Bridge to support the cross-platform smart home technology. Lights and accessories — including the existing Hue motion sensor — will be supported on day one, Philips says, and the contact sensor later in the year. The Hue Play Sync Box and new Hue Secure cameras will have to wait for upcoming Matter improvements as those devices aren't currently supported.

Hue bridges should automatically update with the new, Matter-compatible software as long as they've been set to auto-update. Alternatively, manually triggering an update through the Hue app will be possible.

Though Philips' IFA announcements focused on its Hue security launch, that's not to say there aren't new lights. Perhaps the biggest news is an update to the Hue Festivia string lights — the company's app-controlled multi-color holiday lights — which will now come in a 100 LED/8-meter version and a 500 LED/40-meter version alongside the original 250 LED/20-meter cord. They're all outdoor-rated for year-round use in the garden.

Three new light effects are being added — a rainbow palette in "Prism," rapidly changing brightness in "Shimmer," and dreamy pastels in "Opal.". The three string light lengths will be priced at $119.99, $219.99, and $359.99, respectively, when they go on sale in September.

Then there's the Philips Hue MR16 smart bulb, which should be a direct swap for a 12V low-voltage bulb. White Ambiance and Color Ambience versions will be on sale in September, priced at $99.99 for a two-pack.

Finally, there are two new lighting systems. Hue Perifo is a modular track system with interchangeable pendants, spotlights, light bars, and light tubes powered by ceiling wiring or a standard wall outlet. Available in black and white, components will be priced between $19.99 and $299.99.

Hue Centris, meanwhile, is a combination ceiling spotlight with a central diffused light panel and 350-degree adjustable spotlights. Each can be individually controlled through the Hue app. It'll be offered in white and black at $309.99 for a two-spot version or $489.99 for a four-spot.