Lighting makers keep their options open for smart home platforms.
Just over a year ago, the emergence of a sub-$10 light-emitting diode (LED) bulb was big news for the lighting industry. The same pricing trends are headed for smart bulbs too.
Now, for just a few dollars more, consumers can buy a
The Link is available in three different bulb designs, an A19 60-watt replacement in soft white, a soft-white indoor floodlight, and an indoor/outdoor bright white spotlight. The bulbs are priced at under
Instead of building its own smart home platform, GE has partnered with Wink for its Link bulbs. "We think Wink is onto something with the openness of their platform," said
Wink grew out of the collaborative design startup Quirky that has developed products from decorative muffin toppers to the
GE also has a partnership with Lutron for the GE telligent LED, an indoor floodlight that is embedded with Lutron's Clear Connect technology so that it can be dimmed wirelessly. The Link is the first GE bulb, however, that can be controlled from a smartphone.
For now, GE is betting on Wink, but since Link bulbs are ZigBee certified, "in theory it could work for other platforms," said Lavelle.
The Link is GE's answer to other offerings like the Philips Hue, a connected, wireless, color-changing LED bulb that has a starting price point for a single bulb about three times the cost of the Link A19. It's also cheaper than TCP's connected system, which offers a starter kit of two A19 bulbs and a gateway for
Lighting makers and other home appliance manufacturers are backing a wide range of startups in the smart home space, but they also don't want to limit their options. Lavelle said that GE would likely migrate to whichever platform consumers adopt, a sentiment that has been echoed by other white goods manufacturers.
For startups like Wink, the entrance of large players like
"We are excited to see them embracing the open ecosystem and integrating with other brands,”
Some of GE's lighting competitors, including Osram Sylvania and Philips, have already announced that they will have MFi-certified products to integrate with Apple's HomeKit. Osram Sylvania's iQ indoor LED floodlights are also available on Comcast's Xfinity Home platform.
As lighting manufacturers compete for market share in the budding LED sector, they are looking to find the right technology partners to get a competitive advantage. The home controls market is very young, so lighting companies will have to be flexible and focused in their strategy. Once consumers purchase long-lasting LEDs, it will likely be many years before they make the switch again.
Originally published on Greentech Media
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