The home automation industry has been rapidly expanding over the last twelve months, with the simple light bulb being one of the major products to have gotten a smart-home upgrade recently. Consumers can now enjoy the luxury of turning on lights from the comfort of their seats, or even away from their home, should they wish to for whatever reason. At the latest Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, two of the electronic industries biggest players – Belkin and Philips – touted their latest light bulb ranges.
At the CES, Belkin introduced its new WeMo LED light bulbs (parts of the company’s home-automation range), while Philips unveiled the latest installment to its ‘Hue’ home automation technology – the BR30 downlight bulb.
The innovative light bulbs have been designed to work with standard light sockets, meaning no expensive electrician bills or added work for the every day consumer. While the Belkin bulbs will be released with bayonet or screw fitting options, the Philips’ design will be only available with a screw fitting. Philips will retail Bayonet adaptors for an extra charge though.
Let’s take a look at the rundown on each of these two new ranges:
Belkin’s WeMo LED light bulbs permit home owners, residents and office workers the freedom to turn their lights on and off remotely from wherever they are in the world.
Replacing the usual light bulbs used in houses, the new bulbs are controlled with the use of an iOS or Android app. The app works with your existing Wi-Fi network and anywhere that your smart-phone or tablet has access to the internet.
The WeMo LED light bulbs come in a screw-fit or bayonet design that can be easily swapped with existing lights, and are equivalent to the traditional 60W incandescent bulbs. Users can purchase a starter pack that contains the “WeMo Link” that needs to be plugged into a spare power socket in order to bridge the home network.
Unlike Philips Hue, the WeMo doesn’t have a multi-colour option, but the bulbs are dimmable. They can also be set up to a “vacation mode” that means your lighting will turn on while you’re away on holidays in patterns that mimic your usage when in residence. All in all, the WeMo system provides a very practical solution for home-automation enthusiasts.
WeMo Bulbs Specs
The new Philips ‘Hue’ light bulbs and downloadable app permit users to adjust the use of light and colour in the home or office.
One of the most interesting applications of these devices is the use of a massive range of colours to wake people up or help them off to sleep. Alternatively, the colours can just be used to create mood lighting.
The Hue lights can be triggered via a series of alarms, timers and alerts. In addition, Hue uses GPS-based ‘geo-fencing’ in your phone to pinpoint your position and will turn on the outdoor lights when you are walking to your front door.
Bizarrely, and if you so wish, you can even link Hue to data feeds so that the lights change when an important email arrives on your phone or when the weather changes. The Hue offers a wide range conceivable applications, with millions of different colours to choose from.
One of the positive points of difference that the Hue has over the WeMo is that it can easily be taken to a new address, while the WeMo must be fitted out for a particular location.
Phillips Hue Snapshot
While neither the WeMo nor the Hue systems come cheap, the systems do offer some interesting solutions for people looking for flexible and elegant smart-home lighting.