One of the biggest problems with smart lights is the way they interact with traditional wall switches, which is exactly what Philips Hue hopes to fix with its new Wall Switch module.
Typically, the problem with connecting smart lights to a traditional wall switch is that if you use the switch to turn off smart lights instead of using an app or voice command, the smart lights can no longer communicate with the rest of your devices. This means that your smart lights cannot be reached until the next time you use the wall socket to turn them on again, which virtually eliminates the whole purpose of smart lights.
To address this, Philips Hue created the new Wall Switch module, which is a small device that is wired into your existing wall switch, allows you to use the switch to turn lights on and off while still activating Hue bulbs and lights to stay connected to your phone or a Philips Hue hub. So even if you turn them off using the switch, your Hue-smart lights will not lose their functionality.
Available for $ 40 each or $ 70 for a pack of two, the obvious disadvantage of the Hues Wall Switch Module is that in addition to only working with Hue lights, the Wall Switch Module is relatively expensive compared to a traditional wall socket, so instead to install them throughout your house, Hue users may only install them in hightraffic areas.
And to maintain a connection with the rest of your home network, the Hue Wall Switch Module gets power from a small disposable battery. Philips Hue says the battery that comes with the Wall Switch Module should last for about five years with a single charge, but when it finally dies, remove your wall socket faceplate and fiddle with your wires again to replace it.
On the bright side, Philips Hue says its Wall Switch Module should work with both traditional toggle switches and toggle switches in addition to push button switches. That said, if you want a more modular Hue light control solution, Philips Hue is also launching an updated Hue Dimmer Switch that has a new programmable Hue button that can be customized to activate a particular lighting scene or recipe.
The new Philips Hue Wall Switch module will be available in North America sometime this summer for $ 40, with the updated Hue Dimmer Switch arriving earlier on February 23 for $ 25.