Smart lighting systems allow homeowners to control any bulb in their house, set timers, and dim lights—all from a single control panel. The systems aren’t perfect: They’re pricey, and setup often requires wiring fixtures, which also means professional installation. Philips’s Hue LED bulbs do away with physical networks. Each one has its own radio chip, allowing the bulbs to create a wireless network in mere minutes.
The system consists of up to 50 bulbs, a networking hub, and a smartphone app. After screwing in the bulbs, users connect the hub to their router via an Ethernet cable. The hub communicates with the bulbs through the ZigBee wireless transmission standard and with the owner’s phone over Wi-Fi.