Signify may just have cool new lamps announced in the Philips Hue line, you may want to expand Hue lighting within your home in a different way. Fortunately, this is also possible with products that fall outside the Philips Hue line. Products from the Friends of Hue range.
Friends of Hue
Philips Hue lamps are smart lamps: they are made to be able to control everything from a distance via an app. This way you can quickly create a different ambiance, because you only have to tap the button in the app and all your lamps change with it. In principle, you can only do this with Philips Hue lamps, so not with, for example, a smart lamp from Action or Innr. There is one exception, however: Friends of Hue.
friends of Hue are products that do not come from Signify itself, but from other brands. However, those Philips brands have been given the designation ‘friend’. That means they can communicate with each other like Hue products do. Think, for example, of the Hue hub, to which you can not only connect Hue own lamps, but also other lamps. You can find Friends of Hue within the Hue app when you want to install an accessory. They do not work with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but with Apple HomeKit, in addition to the Hue bridge, of course.
Only a few brands are usable as Friend of Hue. The best example is probably Niko, which has been integrated since 2018. It makes light switches for Hue, giving you a physical button to turn your smart lights on or off. The Belgian company, together with Philips Hue, ensures that there is seamless integration and that you do not actually realize that you are not dealing with a non-Hue product. The advantage is that you have more choice: don’t you like the Hue switches? A Friends of Hue product might be more to your liking and ultimately offer the same functionality. You can connect more than twenty Niko dimmer switches to one bridge, which is a big plus: there are many different colors to choose from.
Senic switches also work within the Philips Hue ecosystem and are particularly renowned for their range. A button can reach a maximum of 30 meters, so that you can, for example, have a switch in your house that controls the lights in the back of your garden. The switches are beautiful in design: they are sleek and available in matte black and matte white.
If you find many switches just a bit too modern and stylized, then a Busch-Jaeger copy is probably more to your taste. The advantage is that this switch is a bit more old-fashioned and therefore fits better with the light buttons of the non-smart lamps. You can control up to 50 lights and 25 Friends of Hue switches with this brand’s smart light button.
The Nodon switch is also a somewhat more classic model, which makes it more suitable for the switches of ‘dumb’ lamps. The advantage of this switch is that you can attach it to the wall with both screws and double-sided tape, so that you can actually place it anywhere in your home. Handy if you’ve always wanted a light switch by your bed, so that you don’t have to climb out when you just fall asleep, but also, for example, near the couch, so that you can immediately create the right atmosphere by dimming the light.
It is not a product line, but an app/service that is very useful: If This Then That. In this app you can create scenarios in which all kinds of products react to each other in a kind of chain reaction. These are called applets and there are more than 400 services that are connected by the Hue integration. For example, you can set the Hue lights to change color when the International Space Station flies over your home. You can also set the lights to flicker in red or blue, depending on the uniform colors of your favorite sports club. That flickering only happens when your team scores.
Works with Hue
Works with Hue is basically the same as Friends of Hue, with the only difference that these products are not promoted by Philips. So they do work with Hue products, but are put forward less by the brand. Logitech Harmony (is an example of this.
Other smarthome products
Although Friends of Hue products are of course preferred by Philips, in addition to Hue own products, you really don’t necessarily have to purchase Friends of Hue products to make them work with Hue lamps. If you have made a setup at home with Homey, Fibaro or Home Assistant, they can work with the Hue lamps as well as with products from a completely different brand (as long as they work on the same protocol). Here you also choose which switch controls which Hue lamp. It is even possible to use Ikea’s smart button in combination with Philips Hue. However, that is not easy.
The Friends of Hue program is an attractive program that gives you just that little bit more choice than just the Philips Hue range, without having to bend over backwards as is the case with other smarthome products. In addition, all Friends of Hue switches are wireless, so you don’t have to connect them to the electrical wires in your home. Some copies even work with kinetic energy, which means that they accumulate energy every time they are pressed and do not need to be charged. You can just as easily add the products via the Hue app and in daily use you will hardly notice that it is not an ‘official’ Hue product, but a Friend of Hue. This gives you more choice in different styles and functions, especially when it comes to switches, so you can tailor your Hue experience even better to your home.