It would seem that Hue has gone full on to a data collection revenue model, they are stating that soon you will be required to create an account with Hue (Signify) in order to use your bulbs and they implicitly state they will be sharing your data for as long as you have an account.
What’s particularly infuriating is their reasoning for the account. Currently they track a bit about you already, but they want the account so they can increase the amount of data they get from you and your devices. They say it’s for “security” but we all know that’s just lip service to scare you into compliance.
This is a real bummer for those of us that prefer to keep our home automation totally local, but fortunately Inovelli has the solution: their bulb! I suspect once news of this really starts to spread that the bulbs are going to sell out fast - I am replacing my Hue’s with Inovellis myself.
For those using Home Assistant you might not be aware that HA was actually written to control Hue’s because they could be controlled locally, it was the precipice for (IMHO) the best home automation software out there and this issue is serious enough that the creator of HA made a big post about this issue on their forums.
Sadly there aren’t many solutions for some of their more unique bulbs (I use their light bars, candle bulbs and all sorts of lights that aren’t their standard bulb) and there are some hacks to try to get them paired to your Zigbee network but so far I’ve been unsuccessful in getting that to work so I’ve blocked the Hue hub from the internet entirely for now until I can find a way to pair them or replace them.
In the meantime I’m already ordering some Inovelli bulbs.
This is disappointing, but at least the bulbs are standard Zigbee and can be used with a variety of Zigbee coordinators if you don’t want to use a Hue Bridge (though there are less expensive options out there if that’s all you plan to do, at least for common form factors). But I suspect most people won’t really care and are probably already using a Hue account anyway; it enables the use of certain features, like voice assistant integration or out-of-home control.
Z-Wave bulbs, on the other hand, are almost always at least awkward but can rise to problematic if they support S0 but not S2, don’t have separate secure vs. non-secure pairing methods, and are used on controllers like any using the official SiLabs 700/800-series Z-Wave SDK. This is because they are forced into S0 in this case, and the result tends to be even more chatty than Z-Wave bulbs already can be, and it tends to make your network unhappy if it’s already a large network or you have more than a few of these. And unfortunately, the original firmware for the Red Series bulbs meets all of these criteria when used on such controllers. An update enables a non-secure pairing mode, but I still found it tricky to enter.
In other words, I’m not sure filling my house with these would be my replacement plan. (I’m not sure they ever plan to enter the bulb market again [EDIT: they are! forgot about the mmWave thing], though I know Zigbee was once on their radar, and that I might have considered. Still have a couple of these, though!)
Honestly, I thought they were discontinued and only available still because they have so many and they never sold well, but I might be confusing this with the lightstrip (which was actually discontinued) or general problems they’ve had with their old Z-Wave manufacturer (not sure if this was from them or not). I can’t actually find that announcement now, so I’m second-guessing myself.
I wouldn’t count on 500-series Z-Wave bulbs being around forever, in either case. Regardless, there is no reason that whatever you purchase now won’t continue to work well into the future.
Just popping in for clarity – @BertABCD1234 is correct, we are not planning on selling anymore Z-Wave bulbs at this time. We do have a lot left, but once they’re gone, we do not plan on restocking them for a couple of reasons. We no longer work with that manufacturer and Z-Wave is a tough sell when it comes to bulbs simply because people can purchase Hue if they want a premium brand and then they can also buy the cheap WiFi bulbs if they want something inexpensive.
Given we couldn’t modify the firmware on these, it was a tough sell for us as to compete with Hue’s price-point, requires us to have something different and usually that’s done via firmware.
Now, that said, I do love these bulbs, please don’t misunderstand! It was just hard for us to compete.
We do plan on getting back into the bulb market via a mmWave bulb that will be Zigbee (and possibly Matter). More to come there, I’ve kicked off the project with the manufacturer, but we’re going back and forth on the aesthetics.
Presumably, you bought them for the features they support today (and have four a couple years – there haven’t been any firmware updates in a while). Z-Wave is forwards- and backwards-compatible with every generation from 100 to 800 so far, and that is unlikely to change (aside from the fact that LR creates effectively a different network, but a controller is supposed to be able to participate in both). Nothing will cause that to change no matter what Inovelli – or any vendor – does or doesn’t sell in the future.
Just to clarify- this only applies to Hue bulbs connected to the Hue hub, correct? All of mine are connected via z2m… I would be extremely surprised and disappointed if z2m allowed a Hue bulb to send any info to Philips/Signify over the Internet. Seems unlikely, but i want to be sure…
I don’t see how any bulbs currently on z2m can be changed. Going forward, however, who knows. Depends if this change will be at the firmware level of hte bulbs themselves. Would probably recommend NOT updating firmware for the bulbs anytime soon until there is further clarity
Agreed. Only issue is associations with multiple bulbs to one red and after refreshing network setup only the last paired one would work properly via association. The color quality is great and they work really well with Z-Wave JS UI when automated through the stick and not direct association.
Hoping these go on “clearance” some day as we have some 10+ bulb fixtures I’d love to upgrade to add color.