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Manufacturer Signify not only offers the smart lighting system Philips Hue, but also WiZ. This ecosystem is similar to Hue, but uses Wi-Fi instead of the ZigBee radio standard. This allows operation without special base stations such as the Hue Bridge. And as the newly presented Spacesense technology shows, Wi-Fi has another advantage: in the future, you can use the existing signals to detect movements in rooms. Signify thus makes expensive motion sensors superfluous. Even better, no direct line of sight is required as with conventional sensors.

How WiZ Spacesense works

The idea sounds simple, but it’s complex: most of the time, you’ll interfere with Wi-Fi signals slightly and automatically as you walk through it. After all, these are radio waves that affect you through your body and also through the movement of the air in the room. It is precisely these minimal deviations in the signal strength that the WiZ lamps will be able to recognize and respond to in the future.

Wi-Fi instead of infrared motion sensors: WiZ's Spacesense makes it possible.  (Photo: Meaning)
Wi-Fi instead of infrared motion sensors: WiZ’s Spacesense makes it possible. (Photo: Meaning)

However, the basic requirement is two WiZ bulbs located in the same room. This is the only way Spacesense can sense the Wi-Fi interference between the connected lights. A direct line of sight between the LEDs is not necessary, as passive infrared technology (PIR) typical of motion sensors is not used here.

The centerpiece: the WiZ app

An important element to be able to use Spacesense is the WiZ app, which is part of the smart home system. Here you configure the motion detection and adjust how sensitive it is. Because if the cat enters the living room, the best scenario is that the lights should not come on. You also define when the lights go out again if Spacesense doesn’t detect any movement.

Almost all WiZ lamps that appeared after September 2021 are suitable.  (Photo: Meaning)
Almost all WiZ lamps that appeared after September 2021 are suitable. (Photo: Meaning)

Of course, the question arises as to why you should still use the motion sensor, which is also available from WiZ. In many situations it should no longer be absolutely necessary.

Compatible with many lamps

You don’t need new bulbs for Spacesense if you already have existing WiZ bulbs. According to the manufacturer, almost all WiZ lighting solutions that have appeared since September 2021 are suitable. On the other hand, if you have older WiZ bulbs, they may not be compatible yet.

Interestingly, LEDs from other manufacturers are also suitable, provided they are suitable and marked in the context of “Connected by WiZ”. Signify specifically mentions the Philips Smart LEDs (models A80 and P45) here. Other lamps from other manufacturers could follow in the future.

Idea with a lot of potential

Use interference in the WLAN network for a function – a good idea! But WiZ Spacesense must first prove that this motion detection works just as well as with regular motion sensors, for which you would otherwise be happy to pay 30 euros. And one thing is also clear: you always need (at least) two WiZ lamps for Spacesense to work. In small spaces or in places where a sensor should control a smart socket, the concept is likely to reach insurmountable limits.

Nevertheless, the fact that Signify makes Spacesense available almost for free in the form of an update of the app is undoubtedly commendable.

The new app also adds other improvements, including shortcuts for quick selection of light scenes.  (Photo: Meaning)
The new app also adds other improvements, including shortcuts for quick selection of light scenes. (Photo: Meaning)

I’m excited about the near future: Both WiZ and Philips Hue support the upcoming Matter smart home standard. Perhaps this could be used to bring Spacesense together with previously incompatible bulbs? In addition, the question arises: could Spacesense or a similar function not also be implemented for ZigBee and other radio standards? This would undoubtedly be a practical added value for users…

Spacesense will be released at the end of September 2022 in the form of an app update and, if necessary, through updates to the supported WiZ lamps, which you can also buy from EURONICS . can find. In that regard, the WiZ app has received many improvements, including shortcuts, revised light scene management and a clearer display of energy consumption.

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