A future iteration of Philips Hue connected lights may incorporate fundamental aspects of blockchain technologies for security and to enable a wider range of use cases, according to recently emerged intellectual property documentation reviewed by Android Headlines. A new solution patented by Philips lays out the concepts and attributes of blockchain technology before describing a smart lighting system that relies on a reputation index associated with the blockchain for interaction. Summarily, the invention would organize smart lights on separate blocks, forming a link that ultimately leads back to a reputation manager smart contract. Connections to the subsequent blockchain by users or further lights would be checked against the threshold of the reputation index prior to any interactions are pushed across the system. All of that would seemingly be tied back into a control agent managed by Philips rather than a hub as previous iterations of the technology have been.
Background: Smart lighting has been around for quite some time now and the Philips Hue branding was among the first to lead the charge. The company has since released a number of new solutions ranging from smartphone controlled ground lights intended for use outdoors to new formats for interior designs. Although Philips is arguably the most well-known brand in the space, the category has spread fairly quickly with gadgets released by other brands too. That has included similarly large companies such as GE, with launches of new products at various mobile-related events but aside from support for AI assistants such as Alexa and Google's Assistant, that hasn't necessarily changed how they work. Smart lights have mostly maintained connections via either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with applications performing the controlling function and integration into a smart home ecosystem.
The blockchain is another relatively recent technology in terms of its mainstream appeal but has, up until very recently, almost exclusively been used as a way to play a variety of games. It's also become almost ubiquitously common as being interchangeable with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, although that isn't the case. For clarity, the blockchain is simply an advanced ledger system depending on public and private hashed keys for authentication. Transactions are tamper proof and made public, allowing a higher level of scrutiny and security. In the case of the new patent for a Philips Hue blockchain, that would be used to manage connections between a series of lights acting as individual nodes and smartphones or other electronics to control those. The keys to that would be managed by a central system that isn't necessarily tied to one device and is kept secure in the same way cryptocurrency transactions are. That ecosystem could also allow other smart home integrations, broadening protections while making them easier to use at the same time.
Impact: If a new version of Philips Hue does release based on the blockchain patent, there would be plenty of IoT or home automation scenarios where it would prove vastly superior to traditional smart lights. One plausible use for a blockchain-based smart lighting system and probably the most obvious would be in any business location. Intelligently managed lighting could be tied in with other sensors and a central hub for controlling and monitoring who has access and how much access they have. At the store-front level, that could enable features such as interactive furniture showrooms. Outside of that area, the system could allow for more granular control by employees without the need to leave a given workstation and without much risk that an unauthorized user might change the settings. Hotel room lighting would be another obvious use and for nearly the same purposes and reasons. Hotels could essentially use blockchain technologies to allow and disallow control over in-room lighting with the ability to quickly revoke or approve access while blocking out those who shouldn't have access.