October 29, 2014

Smart Bulbs Are C Students

5 minute read


bulbFirst we had the innovations of Mr. Miyagi: wax on wax off. Then we were given the clapper: clap on clap off. Now we have the smart phone: app on, app off. With the smartphone, we have smart products; but how smart are they?

With that said, we have the smart bulb. Yes, the smart bulb. Engineers have figured out how to stuff a wireless antenna and brain into the base of energy-saving LED light bulbs. These bulbs used to cost $100, but now you can get them at a fraction of the price at a hardware store near you. Why would you want them? Simple because who doesn’t want to feel like a VIP in their own home?

With the smart bulb, we see another product that enhances the smart home experience; a complete tailored experience that quite possible is the way it should be. Imagine a day in the life of a smart bulb user and think of the bulb as a light alarm clock. As the mornings get darker, you can wake up to a sunrise effect from your smart bulb at its programmable time. As you approach your driveway, wouldn’t you like your home to know you’re home? Of course, so your porch light is activated and the usually dark entrance into your house is now illuminated. You open the front door and a hot oven meal is ready accompanied by a series of dimmed lights. Well, the bulbs can’t cook you dinner (yet), but the dimmed lights are nice. There are many possibilities with IFTTT (if this, than that) but not yet cooking.

With some features of the smart bulb being successful, we have to ask, “How smart are these smart bulbs? What can’t they do?”

As of now, the smart bulb is mostly timer with a light feature. This isn't that impressive, yet there is room to improve OR get worse. They're technology's C Students. There has to be a smarter way, a way to make these little bits of brilliance A students.

A light bulb could turn on in the morning not because it was programmed the night before, but because it has access to a software that knows you based on a seamless integration with your smartphone apps: your calendar, your schedule, your routine. It could use this same software to utilize precise indoor geofencing to know to turn on lights in individual rooms based on where you are. You could be within five feet of the kitchen and the light turns on. You can go down to the basement to get those spooky Halloween decorations and the lights turn on before you have a chance to second guess the monster living under the stairs. What if your wife comes home early, she’s met with dimmed lights and the football game is automatically changed to her favorite Marvin Gaye record? THIS is a smart home.

All this seems a little too good to be true from a light bulb. Where is this software? If we rely on giants like Apple and Google, we might be waiting a while for software that utilizes geofencing, accesses schedules and interests, and integrates this data to create a seamless, tailored experience for users.

Inpixon has this proof of concept ready: ZoneAware.

“In a mobile device-powered post-PC world, typical location-based services (LBS) technologies can be off the mark — sometime miles off. That’s okay for some applications, but when a doctor needs patient records securely sent to his iPad while he’s in the patient’s room, or an emergency responder needs to know exactly what floor and what room a 911 call is coming from, or you just want to know when a VIP enters the clubhouse, you need the kind of precision that only ZoneAware can deliver.”

If smart bulb technology uses software that enables room-by-room location accuracy, mobile data exchange and hot zones that enable specific app and information delivery, the smart bulb will get smarter and start making a lot more sense.

Clap off.

Topic(s): positioning

Will Adams

Will Adams is a Santa Monica based sales and marketing professional who worked with AirPatrol from 2014-2015.

Subscribe to Blog Updates