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Internet Connected Smart Bulbs are Brilliant Innovation

December 2, 2012

As a kid, I loved science fiction and read Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert voraciously. I devoured every copy of “Popular Science” when my dad’s issue arrived in the mail (before he’d seen it). I’ve always had a love of technology and innovation. My current fascination is Google Glass and I can’t wait until it’s available for everyone.

So with all my interest in advancing technology and emerging media, I’ve just seen the coolest new light bulb and expect to have them throughout my home by summer. These are not just any light bulb – they are internet connected, controlled by an app on your phone, last 25 years or so, and the LED technology uses less energy than current (environmentally unfriendly) energy saver bulbs. Philips is selling a starter kit at a pricey $199 exclusively through Apple stores and variants are being created by several startups now.

It’s just a light bulb – right? No, it’s the start of the future imagined by science fiction writers and Popular Science futurists and techno geeks dreams. Don’t wake me up, just sign me up for internet connected everything. It’s the beginning of useful internet connected appliances, smart homes, security systems, and smart phone connected services.

I imagine it will follow that there will be apps for every manufacturer and potentially every appliance. We’ll need apps to find all our apps – a local search engine for your apps may be needed – or we could start with standards and open source. :) But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s start with the lightbulb – something that hasn’t changed in a hundred years – finally evolving.

Below are several videos showing each of them. The Philips Hue is the only currently available bulb – but two more are due soon – the Ilumi and the Lifx are both startups seeking funding. Lifx raised $1.3 Million from a stated Kickstarter goal of only $100K – lots of believers out there, I guess. The Ilumi is just starting their campaign via another crowdfunding site – Indiegogo.

Interestingly, the Hue and the Lifx are both internet connected, while the Ilumi appears to be Bluetooth controlled. This means no “Away-from-home” remote control without a base station that controls the bluetooth controller – minor difference in approach.

Mike Banks Valentine

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