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Philips Hue Labs


Philips Hue is a smart lighting system from Signify that aims to change the way people light their homes around the world. Signify is always looking for new ways to provide consumers with additional functionality so they can make their homes smarter. Kabisa has been a key contributor to the success of Philips Hue since 2015.

In the video at the bottom of this page, we interviewed George Yianni (Founder Philips Hue) about working with Kabisa.


The main challenge was to reduce the development time of new features. Developing them was quite complex, making it challenging to quickly assess the platform. The release of new accessories also consumed a significant amount of development time, resulting in a (too) long time-to-market.

Another challenge was upgrading the Philips Hue App from version 3 to 4. This is a completely new app built with new technologies. Kabisa was tasked with devising a robust solution to ensure that all Philips Hue users could seamlessly transition to the updated app.


Signify, in collaboration with Kabisa, has established “Hue Labs” to globally test new concepts and ideas with a large group of real end-users of the Philips Hue system. Through this web environment, Hue consumers can try out new applications for their lighting and accessories, such as switches and sensors.

The introduction of “Formulas” makes it super easy for a Philips Hue consumer to configure any part of the system. An example is programming the remote switch. In this case, the switch is more than an on/off button. It can dim lights but also recall preferred settings. Another example is the “Personal Wake Up” Formula. With its use, you will gradually wake up to increasingly bright lights.

The implementation of a Domain Specific Language – a programming language designed in-house on top of Hue Labs – has provided a higher level of abstraction. This means that modifications or extensions in Hue Labs can be done even by non-developers. This way, it is no longer necessary to update software or apps when introducing a new Hue accessory. This significantly reduces the “Time to Market” of a new Hue product.

Hue Labs is hosted at Amazon Web Services (AWS). The infrastructure has been built by Kabisa and configured in a high-available and scalable manner. The environment was set up with the Infrastructure as Code framework Terraform. It is a requirement that Philips Hue’s servers remain up-and-running 24/7. For this, Kabisa has set up a special team.


In the video below, George Yianni (Founder Philips Hue) talks about working with Kabisa.

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The implementation of a DSL (Domain Specific Language) has allowed the level of abstraction to be raised to such a high level that even non-developers can add functionality. This significantly reduces development time. It enables Signify to bring new features and accessories to the market much faster.

The high-available and scalable design of the infrastructure provides greater security and lower costs for Signify. The introduction of Formulas has significantly reduced the development time of new features Signify wants to test with end users. This completely benefits the time-to-market, meaning new Philips Hue accessories can be found in stores sooner!

The newer versions allow components created to be reused in subsequent Formulas. With this comes a lot of flexibility, especially since the creation of the Formulas takes place in the front-end, separate from deployment processes.

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