A major problem with smart light bulbs is that if a person turns them off via its physical switch, the user can’t control them remotely. Lutron’s Aurora smart bulb dimmer, now part of the “Friends of Hue” program, solves this problem. The dimmer is placed over traditional toggle switches, locking it into the “on” position to prevent it from being turned off.
Users will either touch the dimmer to turn their Signify Philips Hue light bulbs and fixtures on, or turn the knob to control the bulbs’ brightness. Using Zigbee technology, the Aurora dimmer is wireless and will work even if Wi-Fi fails. Jasper Vervoort, Business Leader of Home Systems and Luminaires at Signify, says,
“The Lutron Aurora dimmer is the perfect complement to the Philips Hue system – it offers yet another convenient and familiar way for you to control and enjoy what our smart lighting can do. It also blends in well with any interior design style.”
Expected to ship out in June, the Aurora dimmer is available for pre-order on Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, and the Home Depot, along with the Philips Hue website, according to a recent press release from Lutron Electronics.
Philips Hue and the Smart Home
For many users, Philips Hue smart light bulbs and fixtures are part of a larger smart home of connected devices. In 2017, Philips Hue partnered with Comcast’s Xfinity Home to allow users to control their smart lights through the Xfinity Home app. Users could also create rules for their lights that sync them with the actions of other connected devices, otherwise known as home automations. In addition, users can set schedules for their lights to turn off and on at specific times throughout the day.
The Philips Hue A19 smart bulb, in particular, offers users many features including:
- Scenes: Group multiple light bulbs set as specific colors and dimness levels.
- Away mode: Light bulbs will turn on and off, mimicking a real person using them.
- Sunrise/ sunset mode: The light bulbs can turn on when the sun rises and off when the sun sets, or voice versa.
- Geofencing: Users can link their phone’s location to their Hue bulbs, having them turn on when they come home.
Aside from its partnership with Xfinity, the A19 from Philips Hue works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Microsoft Cortana for vocal commands. It also integrates with connected devices from Logitech, Nest, SmartThings, Vivint, and more, allowing the user to create dozens of home automations. The addition of the Lutron Aurora dimmer switch will no doubt make using smart light bulbs easier by keeping them on all the time.