Light Bulbs Are Getting Brighter

 In Design, Innovation

philips-hueFrom energy savings to home security, the humble light bulb has become a hot bed of multi-tasking innovation. Today’s light bulbs work much harder than those of past years when their primary task was to provide enough wattage to see what you’re doing and create a flattering glow for each room in the house.  Now, with a mélange of advanced technology, light bulbs understand your daily routine and dynamically react to ambient light and room occupancy to become more energy efficient, save you money and even act as your home security system.

Light bulbs first started getting brighter in early 2013, when ex-Tesla and NASA engineers hatched the innovative idea that light bulbs could be responsive, react, and read the light around them.  Flash-forward a few years, and today we have fully fledged products that use a Bluetooth module to connect with iBeacon technology, developed by industry behemoths (Philips, GE) as well as entrepreneurial startups (BeON, Stack).

As the newest residents in the growing field of home automation, whose lunch are these smart light bulbs eating?  Certainly not the likes of the novel Nest home security system that is built on true responsive intelligence.  But look out standard LED bulbs; these new products are carving out a spot in the IoT market – a position that is so much sexier than the retail shelf in your local supermarket.

Along with so many smart devices – window shades, thermostats, home security systems, doorbells, baby monitors and more –  it does make us wonder: “who’s in charge to make these independent agents play together?” More importantly, as we reveal more and more information about our daily lives to these devices, what could happen if the data falls into the wrong hands? With every advance in technology there are positive effects and unintended consequences.  It would be smart to consider how smart we want our homes to be.


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