Homeowners around the world have begun to transition from incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) to more efficient and higher quality light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Navigant Research’s report, Residential Energy Efficient Lighting and Lighting Controls, forecasts that LED sales for residential applications will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6% through 2023. Within this wholesale shift of lamp types, however, is another trend with far-reaching implications.
More and more LED light bulbs are being sold with integrated wireless connectivity. Instead of being controlled with simple switches, or even physical dimmers, these bulbs connect to the Internet, often through the homeowner’s Wi-Fi network, and can then be controlled through applications on a computer or smartphone.
This capability may seem extravagant , but the trend is picking up steam surprisingly quickly. One of the first entrants to the category of wireless light bulbs was the Philips Hue, launched in October 2012. Since then, nearly all of the large lighting companies have launched products in this category, including OSRAM, GE, Samsung, and LG. In total, 18 different wireless light bulb products are available from 16 different manufacturers, including Greenwave Systems, Leedarson, LIFX Labs, Belkin, Fujikom, Whirlpool, and others.
These products come with a large range of features. All are capable of dimming, while only some are able to change color (Philips, LIFX Labs, OSRAM, Tabu, Fujikom, and Environmental Lights). Through various software applications, the lighting can be modified based on the time of day, weather conditions, or any other user preferences. Lighting can also be tied into other home systems, such as the Philips Hue’s ability to connect with the Nest Protect smoke detector and flash red lights when either smoke or carbon monoxide are detected. The Hue even allows lighting to be modified based on programmed sequences as an audio book is being read to provide a fully immersive scene for the listener.
Wireless bulbs come with a significant price premium over their non-connected counterparts. While outlets such as The Home Depot have begun selling standard A-type LED bulbs for under $10, wireless bulbs are priced between $30 and $60 apiece. As this premium comes down, and as more users become interested in the range of possibilities made available through connected lighting, adoption is expected to increase rapidly.
Tags: Building Systems, Home Energy Management, Industrial Innovations, Smart Lighting
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