The thought of losing control of your personal lights is quite frightening, and one of the reasons ilumi developed its Meshtek Bluetooth mesh technology.
ilumi's Bluetooth Mesh is different than Philips Hue Zigbee Technology architecture
The “conventional” approach to connecting many IoT products, such as the Hue, is the use of a Zigbee hub or bridge. This device translates the commands from the Internet to a Zigbee radio frequency that then controls the lights and other IoT devices such as switches and sensors. Typically, there is constant communication between the Zigbee network bridge and the internet to maintain schedules and other control functions – with the bulbs usually requiring both uninterrupted power and network connectivity.
By contrast, each ilumi bulb uses Bluetooth to pair with a smartphone on an authorized account, and then utilizes the meshing technology to distribute commands to up to 50 devices. This approach has a three significant security advantages compared to the Hue approach.
- ilumi smart lights have memory and do not need a constant network connection
Each ilumi bulb has both a clock and memory to remember both the time and the set schedule. For routine lighting uses, once the bulb is set, the light doesn’t need a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection in order to work. The color and on/off commands are stored directly in the bulb itself – so it knows what to do – and when to do it. We originally designed this to support the use of smart lighting in rural environments where a Wi-Fi signal may not be available, but it also has the benefit of making it harder for hackers to discover the bulbs.
- ilumi Smartbulbs can be turned off with a simple light switch
Unlike most other smart lights which require constant power, each ilumi is designed to operate in a normal home environment that uses a standard light switch. The bulb has a battery that remembers the settings and schedule, so if you want your daughter’s room to light up pink – it will remember that – as well as to turn off at 10:30 on school nights, All she has to do is turn on her light just like she did before. ilumi has patented this technology, and simple ability to cut power to the light makes the light more convenient to use, and potentially less visible to hackers
- ilumi uses local control and Bluetooth security standards
Today you must be near the bulb itself to enable Bluetooth pairing. The ilumi connects to the app on your phone after it is authenticated, which only then enables you to control the bulb. Because each bulb is linked to an specific ilumi account, we can leverage the Bluetooth security protocols that are in place today for millions of devices. While Zigbee has been around for a while, it has less than 1200 certified products on their website while there are well over 10,000 certified Bluetooth products today. This larger base of products and should enable development of stronger and more robust security standards in the future to better protect your devices.