LG Smart Bulbs are a bright idea that could change the way we keep track of how we use our lights. The high-efficiency LED bulbs are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible, and connect to any device running Android 4.3 or iOS 6.0 and newer. The user then installs and app on their phone that features an interface that allows the user to control not only when the bulbs come on, but also how brightly they glow, and how slowly they brighten. Although timers for lights are not new inventions, the sheer personalizing potential of the new bulbs blows away the old limited plastic dials of yesteryear.
LG says the bulbs are both energy-efficient and durable, they can be expected to last at least 10 years if lit for 5 hours a day, but that number can be increased by reducing the brightness the bulb. As well, they are 80% more efficient than incandescent and the software will keep track of how many watts are being used at different times of the day, so even running at full power the smart bulbs will quickly return their investment value to the users pockets. Speaking of value, the LG smart bulbs are currently retailing in South Korea for 35,000 won, which is roughly 32 USD, but there has been no news of whether or not the bulbs will be made available anywhere else. The software used to control the bulbs also comes with a fun party mode, which uses the smartphones microphone to listen to the music being played and strobe the lights to the beat.
Among the other features that make LG smart bulbs a bright idea is the alarm mode, with which users can set a time for their lights to slowly brighten to wake them up gently to encourage a more relaxed waking than a harsh alarm clock. There is also an option to switch to mood lighting, for sets a nice tone for the evening and saves power at the same time. Those with hearing loss will benefit from options that allow them to set their lights to flash in different patterns to alert them to phone calls, emails, or even someone knocking at the front door. Users can also program individual lights in different rooms around the house to come on or turn off at specific times, and if the software is paired with local weather, it is possible to turn lights down when it’s sunny, and turn them up when it’s gloomy.
This new entry in the market of “smart” objects comes just before the wave that will mark the beginning of the internet of things, when smartphones will become even less phone and more universal remote. Home automation is just starting to take off in a big way, ensuring energy efficiency in areas of home ownership that many ignore. Frustrating thermostats and unavoidably wasteful refrigerators will soon be tunable at the flick of a button to allow them to function in better synchronization with our lives. This alone makes LG smart bulbs a bright idea for more than just their energy-saving potential.
By Daniel O’Brien