When the Internet of Things fully arrives, everything may be able to talk to everything. LG is giving us a taste of that future with a new smart light bulb that can be controlled from a smartphone.
The 10W Smart Lamp works with either an iOS 6+ or Android 4.3+ smartphone, over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. At the moment, LG has only released the Lamp in its home country of South Korea, and no plans have yet been made public about availability elsewhere.
After a user installs the accompanying app on a smartphone, the Smart Lamp can be turned on, off or dimmed with a few screen taps.
Light Bulb as Peripheral
The new light bulb can also act as an alert signal for your smartphone or, one assumes, any connected and compatible device. Thus, even if you have your smartphone on vibrate, the light bulb can be set to blink when a call is coming in.
In alarm clock mode, the light bulb can emulate a small sunrise by gradually glowing to wake you up. And, of course, the light bulb can be set to turn on or off at specific times when you're away, potentially to foil would-be robbers.
The bulb also loves a good party. In this mode, its light varies according to the rhythm of the music being played back from your connected Android mobile device. At present, this feature is not available for iOS devices.
The new bulb is over 80 percent more energy efficient than a regular incandescent version. The company said this means the bulb can burn for five hours a day, every day for 10 years. The energy efficiency, plus all the bulb's tricks, are intended to make up for the pricey cost of $32 each.
The New Smart Bulb Category
The announcement of the LG Smart Lamp means that there is now a smart bulb category. It joins Philips' Hue, which is billed by its maker as "the world's smartest LED bulb."
Released in fall of last year, the Hue similarly can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet. The starter package includes three bulbs that can be screwed into existing lamps, and there's also a bridge that plugs into the home Wi-Fi router and an app to download for your mobile device. As with LG's Smart Lamp, Hue can also be controlled outside the home for security purposes, or can be set to display increasing or decreasing levels of light to help you wake up or fall asleep.
Want to save the moody lighting you've just set up with the Hue? You can save the lighting setup by room or time of day and then display those settings when needed. As befits its name, Hue can also take on various colors as well as various brightnesses, enabling the ability, for instance, to key the color to be shown in the bulb from a color in a photo on your mobile device. Or you can show the colors of the rainbow.
But perhaps the biggest different is that Philips, keeping in mind that platforms win over products, said it has opened up "the Hue app to the developer community and has created an open source platform" so that third-party software creators can come up with new ways to use this new light bulb.
Posted: 2014-07-10 @ 12:03pm PT
So this is the new answer to what it takes to change a lightbulb - plug the bridge into the home wifi router, download the mobile app - oh, and don't forget to screw it in.