Light bulbs are becoming more than just light bulbs
In this technology era, incorporated smarts are allowing bulbs to be much more controllable than traditional lights. Which poses the question:
What can a smart bulb do?
We’ve had a look into the Philips Hue bulbs available only from Apple, the Yeelight Wifi Bulb, available from growing technology giant Kogan, and of course the LIFX bulb range which was crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2012 with backers pledging over $1 million in less than six days.
Simply put, smart light bulbs allow you to shift colours at the touch of a button on your smartphone.
At first glance, the idea of just changing the colour of your bulb may seem more of a gimmick than useful, but there's more to it. The Philips Hue light bulb has great colours, and the programmability of the bulbs allows you to set times for a very warm colour slowly shifting to bright white helping to wake you up. This feature is clever in that it can follow the circadian rhythm, a biological process that the human body follows to maintain alertness, blood pressure, reaction times and so on throughout the day. Studies have indicated that having a light colour similar to the time of the day can increase mental sharpness and alertness.
Individual colours also have emotional benefits. Since the bulbs produce not only various forms of whites but colours too, you’re able to adjust a million or more variations of blues, reds, greens, purples and so on. Red for example is known as a libido booster, yellow is said to help reduce depression, blue helps to calm people down and reduce symptoms of migraine, purple helps reduce mental stress and helps you fall asleep, orange can stimulate creative thoughts. (Source for this is here)
But what’s different between these smart light bulbs?
Light intensity - Philips Hue quote a delivered output of 600 lumens, the Yeelight isn't specified, but the power consumption of just 6 watts indicates it would be around 400 lumens, and the LIFX bulbs boast 1000+ lumens.
Wifi Hub - The LIFX bulb has the ability to work and connect without the need for a starter kit or Wi-Fi hub. Nearly every other Wi-Fi connect bulb requires a starter kit or Wi-Fi hub.
Cost - Starting up with the Philips HUE bulbs costs $249.95 for 3 bulbs including the Wi-Fi hub, and $69.96 for each bulb thereafter. The Yeelight bulb from Kogan is available by the bulb at $44 each, however a Starter Kit was not listed. The LIFX bulbs are $129 each ($118.50 each in a 10 pack).
As we move forward in time, security monitoring, motion sensors and wireless boosters will be incorporated into smart LED lights. Don’t hold your breath though as these products take time to develop - LIFX started 2 years ago but only recently released its products to the market.