We've been using a set of WiZ smart LED lights for the past week to see how they stood up to their closest competitors. In the world of smart bulbs - especially when we're talking about SIMPLE smart home lighting systems, there's one stand out brand: Phillips hue. Today we're going to run down the reasons why the new-to-America brand WiZ is more than a fly-by-night smart lighting competitor - they might just have hue beat.
For most of us, the entry point to the smart home is connected lighting, and that's where startup Noon Home aims to make its mark. Rather than persuading people to switch out their bulbs for wireless versions, like Hue or LIFX, or the lamps themselves, Noon replaces the light switches with smart versions.
Smart lighting has generally aimed to replace your existing bulbs and lamps, but what if you want something completely different? LIFX believes it has the answer with LIFX Tile, a WiFi-connected modular wall panel system that supports multiple colors. This isn't just lighting, the bulb-maker insists, this is ambient light art.
Next year LG will begin selling flexible OLED lamps to the general public. These are, to put it simply, panels of light as flexible as a piece of paper. While LG's been working on and with these types of lamps and lighting for several years, sources suggest that consumer-aimed flexible OLED lamps may be launched for consumers next year. This is the dawn of the curved light - and almost certainly the precursor to the fully flexible full room smart lighting system as an everyday occurrence.
Looks like Hue, LIFX, and others will soon have some new smart lighting competition, with a former Nest exec preparing to launch a rival system of his own. Locoroll is the brainchild of Erik Charlton, formerly a member of the founding team at Nest and the company's head of business. It's been working for more than a year and a half on what appears to be smart dimmer switches for the connected home.
The Flyte Magnus 2.0 is a flying lightbulb that's powered by a wireless charger. This is a solution similar to what's used in wireless smartphone charging, but also employs magnets to allow the powered bulb to float. Obviously this is not a fantastic solution for families with multiple toddlers, but the concept is certainly an excellent experiment in minimalist design.
Philips has announced an expansion to its Hue smart lighting product line with the addition of two new items, plus new starter kits. The starter kits, of course, are designed to get new customers quickly established with a smart lighting product. The two new models, meanwhile, include one light fixture, the Philips Hue White Ambiance Cher Suspension fixture, plus the new Philips Hue White Ambiance downlight bulb.
Controlling the smart home has more options than ever, but sometimes you just want a regular light switch to turn on your connected bulbs. iDevices' new Dimmer Switch offers just that, a new in-wall control that, though requiring a little DIY action on your part, promises not only more convenient operation but instant compatibility with some of the popular virtual agents, too. Once installed, it'll work with the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's Siri courtesy of HomeKit.
IKEA may not be the first company you think of when it comes to smart home kit, but the Swedish behemoth's newly HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Home compatible lighting might change that. As promised, the IKEA Tradfri range of connected bulbs have been updated, with a new firmware version for the bridge bringing support for a variety of third-party IoT platforms. Given Tradfri's aggressive pricing, it could well make it the go-to choice for those wanting to outfit more than a few lighting fixtures with smart bulbs.
You might associate Bluetooth with cutting the cable between your headphones and your phone, but Bluetooth Mesh aims to make it a ubiquitous backchannel for the Internet of Things. Launched today, Bluetooth Mesh is a way that low-energy radios can build many-to-many (m:m) links between devices, evolving to encompass new gadgets, temporary blackouts, and more. Initially, it's setting its sights on the lucrative smart lighting segment.
IKEA is continuing its assault on the smart home, with its new TRÅDFRI smart lighting range undercutting stalwarts like Philips Hue when it hits US stores this spring. The popular homewares and furniture company - known as much for its competitive pricing as its flat-pack, self-assembly products - has confirmed US pricing for the connected bulb range. Notably, the TRÅDFRI line-up will support Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa support natively.