LIFX Moves Its Lightbulb Device to the Cloud on Heroku

Device startup integrates with Nest quickly by building and deploying on Heroku

LIFX is an Australian startup that is re-inventing the lightbulb. They're making it something engaging, versatile and capable of transforming an indoor space using a smartphone from anywhere. The LIFX lightbulb also works with the Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector products.

The Challenge: Switching from Wi-Fi to Cloud

The LIFX lightbulb initially only worked over a Wi-Fi connection, which only allowed locally connected devices on the same network to work together. The LIFX team knew they needed to achieve far greater scale if they were going to grow. Their planned integration with Nest would give them the exposure they needed and accelerate their plan to migrate everything to the Cloud.

LIFX wanted to announce their Nest partnership at the 2014 Google I/O Developer Conference, so they needed to move to the Cloud and complete the integration in an extremely short time frame.

The Solution: Fast, Reliable Development and Deployment on Heroku

LIFX engaged Heroku to host their cloud control servers and infrastructure, which would enable them to build, deploy and complete the integration with Nest in time for Google I/O.

To work reliably with Nest, LIFX needed to set up a channel between the Heroku platform and the Nest cloud servers to connect each Nest device and the LIFX light bulbs they managed. This was a large amount of information from many sources, which had to be processed quickly and reliably.

The integration with Nest also provided a rich set of additional features. When you leave on a trip or vacation, as soon as your Nest Thermostat switches itself to Away mode, LIFX can make your home appear occupied by automatically turning your lights on throughout the house at whatever time you set. If your Nest Protect device detects smoke or carbon monoxide, LIFX lightbulbs can flash red to let you know there might be danger; it can even alert those who are color blind or hearing impaired.

IoT allows the device manufacturers to focus on the vertical they want to own and then integrate with companies like Nest as needed. Having Heroku in a cloud component is essential for this to work. John Cameron, Vice President, Software, LIFX

By leveraging Heroku, the LIFX team was able to deploy their cloud database and their APIs on Heroku, and complete integration with Nest successfully. The Nest partnership is just the beginning of many great things for LIFX — they are already exploring other cloud partnerships and planning to expand their product offerings.

We are confident that Heroku is rock-solid as we scale and grow to support millions of real-time connected IoT devices in the future. John Cameron, Vice President, Software, LIFX

App Experience: Integration with Nest Provides Rich Set of New Features

The LIFX app, available on iOS and Android, lets you control LIFX lightbulbs from wherever you are, including dimming, color control, and many other room-enhancing features. The app displays an elegant color wheel and intensity meter for adjusting settings.

LIFX is extremely customizable, giving you the choice of up to 16 million colors and many shades and features. It also offers many cool effects such as a music visualizer which changes the light effects based on the music playing. In addition, there is a candlelight feature, a wake-up alarm, an on-vacation setting, various dimmers, and you can save your favorite settings as scenes; all accessible from the mobile app. You can even group lightbulbs, 4 bulbs in kitchen, 6 in your living room and 2 in the bathroom, and then adjust them or turn them on or off as groups, individually or all at once.

Is your company looking for ways to speed time to market, lower costs and hand off dev ops so you can focus on product development? LIFX is a great example of a device manufacturer using Heroku to deploy and connect over the Cloud. For more information, contact Heroku today.

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