Osram isn't a new player to the lighting market by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the German company has been established for around 100 years and CEO of its Lightify Innoventure Group company, Timon Rupp, claims as many as every second lightbulb in the world is an Osram bulb.
But just because it's been established a long time doesn't mean we should automatically pay attention right? Well, it does if you want connected lighting in your home and you want a cheaper alternative to Philips Hue. Osram's Lightify isn't a new product, but in August one of the bulbs in the range will be heading to supermarket giant Tesco, so this system is soon to become mainstream. Here is everything you need to know about it and why you should care.
What is Lightify?
Lightify is Osram's solution to carrying the company into the digital age and it is one of Philips Hue's biggest competitors yet. Not just because Osram is a well known brand to many, but also because it undercuts Hue in price and offers many of the same features.
There are several bulbs available within the Lightify range with more on the way, so by the end of the year there will be numerous options and fittings. Lightify will have garden spots, surface lights, strip lighting and spot lights, along with a white bulb and a coloured bulb, all of which are connected and controlled via the dedicated app.
The coloured bulb, capable of 16 million different RGB colours like Hue, will be the bulb you will find in Tesco at the end of the summer. It will be sold alongside the wireless gateway, which can control up to 50 bulbs just like the Hue Bridge can.
The white bulb, which is available in smaller retailers and online, allows you to vary the colour temperature from warm white to cool white and a cheaper white bulb that offers a dimming feature will also arrive before the end of the year. Despite being an entry-level bulb, this cheaper bulb won a Red Dot Design Award and it is meant for areas of the home that aren't used as much or don't need anything too fancy, such as a cellar or the stairway.
What features does Lightify offer?
Lightify offers many of the same features as Philips Hue, as we mentioned earlier, including the ability to pick any of 16 million colours, choose the temperature of white light even on the coloured bulb, and remotely control each bulb from the app.
There is a colour picker that enables you to select any colour within a picture so you can replicate it within the room your bulb or bulbs are in, such as a sunset or matching your lights to your wallpaper or serviettes during a dinner party for example. You can also set your creations as a scene and then put them on a schedule so if you have created a sunrise scene, you could then set your lights to turn on with this every morning at 7am.
Scenes can be marked as a favourite easily by pressing a heart so you can find them easier next time and there are also a few predefined scenes that have been created to influence your body. There are currently three predefined scenes comprising relax, active and plant mode. As you would expect, relax mode turns the lights into colours that are said to help the body relax, while active is meant to keep you more alert and plant mode is to help create the right conditions for house plants.
Of course you can turn the lights on and off, group them together and dim them all from the app, as well as add timers so if you are away from home, you can make it look as if someone is there. The app will also allow you to easily see which lights within your home are on or off via a main dashboard.
What are the future features?
Its features are vast, but Osram isn't stopping there when it comes to Lightify. There are plans to work on the entertainment aspect, which should mean that eventually Lightify will offer a similar mode to the Party Mode found on Philips Hue, whereby your lights will flash to the beat of the music you are playing.
Rupp also told us that it was working on IFTTT integration and it has just completed the technical aspect integration with Google Nest, which it expects to launch in July. We were told that the Nest integration will mean control of the thermostat from the Lightify app and vice versa, which would be great as it would mean less switching between apps.
Osram also offers a connected plug, which allows those in Europe but currently not the UK to remotely control a lamp for example. Rupp said they would consider creating a three-pin version so fingers crossed this may also appear at some point.
Where can you get it?
The coloured bulb will be available in Tesco from August, while the other aspects of the Lightify range are or will be available at smaller retailers and wholesalers. The Smart LED Outlet store on eBay offers some of the products already, including the GU10 spotlight.
The strip lighting and garden lighting will be coming before the end of the year and we will update this feature when we find out more information on where you will be able to buy them.
How much does it cost?
The Lightify white bulb will set you back £29.99, while the coloured bulb will cost £39.99, which is £10 cheaper than Philips Hue. The gateway will cost £39.99 and the spot light is available on eBay for £32.99 at the moment.
There is no pricing information for the strip lighting or the garden lights as yet, and the entry-level bulb is also still to be confirmed in terms of price.