Philips Hue Secure Camera Lifestyle Press
Source: Signify

Philips Hue is best known for their smart lighting products, but they're starting to branch out into the broader smart home ecosystem with two new security cameras. The aptly named Secure camera comes in both wired and battery-powered options, with admittedly basic specs for a very high price. Though they do look nice.

Whether the battery-powered or hardline version, the Philips Hue Secure camera has a 1080P HD sensor with a 141º field of view, motion detection, IR "night vision", an audio alarm with two-way talk, and an IP65 rating that will keep dust and rain water from getting inside. Signify, the makers of the Philips Hue brand after being spun off from the main Philips company, claims a 3-month battery life and a 5-hour recharge time with the included proprietary charger (why couldn't they just use USB-C?). Both connect to the Hue Bridge hub over Wi-Fi and Zigbee wireless.

The wired Philips Hue Secure camera will run a very steep $199.99 this fall, while the battery version will set you back $249.99. That's… not cheap at all. There's also a "desktop stand" variant of the wired camera that includes a weighted base for positioning the camera on a horizontal surface instead of mounting to the wall — that'll cost $229.99, and an outdoor floodlight camera is due in early 2024 for north of $350.

In addition to the cameras, the new Secure line will also include a Secure contact sensor for placement on doors, windows, cabinets, etc. It will connect with the Hue Bridge hub over Zigbee, and is priced at a somewhat unreasonable $39.99 — Zigbee contact sensors can regularly be found for well under half that price, and with a much smaller footprint, but those can't pair with a Hue Bridge.

Philips Hue Secure Contact Sensor Lifestyle Press
Source: Signify

The Secure line of Philips Hue products meshes with Signify's intent to expand the Hue brand beyond just lighting. The addition of security cameras and door sensors push well beyond the ecosystem of lighting-centric products that Hue had offered before — motion sensors, HDMI boxes, and switches that were previously used for activating lights. It's a big leap for Hue, and you shouldn't be surprised to see other smart home products show up under the Hue umbrella in the years ahead.

Offering cameras and sensors also allows Signify to keep customers buying the pricier Hue products. While the new Secure cameras and contact sensors aren't technically impressive, they do have good product design and Hue's software has always been very user friendly. While Hue systems have historically played nice with other smart home systems, like Apple Home, Samsung SmartThings, Google Home, and Home Assistant, it's in Signify's interest to keep customers buying as many Hue products as they can.

But that doesn't mean they're building a walled garden around Hue. Far from it, in fact. While there's no expectation that the Secure cameras will pair directly with anything other than a Hue Bridge hub, most hue lighting products and switches have used the open Zigbee protocol and could pair with any compatible home automation system (I have a bunch of old Hue bulbs from when I used to have a Hue hub, but today they're all connected to my Home Assistant system).

In that spirit, the Philips Hue Bridge hub is getting an update to support the newer smart home standard Matter, and it's coming as a software update in September for existing customers. While it won't enable Thread support on the Hue Bridge (the hardware just isn't there to support it), it will allow the Hue Bridge to connect over Wi-Fi with other Matter devices for a more cohesive smart home experience.

It's been a slow roll-out for Matter devices, but adding Hue support to the platform is a big deal. Philips Hue has been at this game for over a decade, so they have a lot of existing customers that will suddenly have a new introduction into Matter already in their homes. But it also won't change anything for existing customers — Hue has long offered integration with basically every smart home system on the planet. I personally had my old Hue Bridge running on its own before I had it paired up with Wink, then SmartThings, and then Home Assistant. But it's still a step towards that unified Matter smart home future, and that's a good thing.

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