The lighting platform, the result of a collaboration between LIFX and Qualcomm, is a great choice if you want to future-proof your IoE investment. And trust me, you’ll want to. Here’s why.
For many consumers, connected light bulbs like those from LIFX can be a great entrée into the Internet of Everything. They’re not difficult to set up. And they’re fun. More than that, though, the experience will get them thinking about what else they can do by adding more connected devices.
Indeed, consumers soon will have many more things to do with their connected lights. Like flash when the oven is pre-heated, or when the dryer is done. Or turn a cool blue when your video game takes you into a dark cave. Or blink when you’ve left the garage door open.
So the promise of IoE is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But when consumers take the plunge into connected lighting today, they’re not typically thinking about whether the bulbs will operate with the connected stuff they’ll be buying next fall. Or next year. Or next decade. But they need to. Because nothing will sour their IoE experience faster than buying connected devices that won’t talk to each other.
To be sure they realize the value, consumers will need to future-proof their purchase by selecting connected lighting today that will play well with other IoE devices tomorrow. In that sense, buying connected bulbs from suppliers like LIFX is a good investment in their budding Internet of Everything rig.
Why? First and foremost, the LIFX light bulbs connect via Wi-Fi, one of the most pervasive wireless standards on the planet. Many others connect to the home network via a proprietary hub that may or may not be supported in a few years.
The bulbs integrate AllJoyn, the open-source framework for IoE interoperability created by Qualcomm and now managed by the the AllSeen Alliance. They also integrate AllSeen’s open-source Lighting Service Framework, which ensures that they’ll work with any AllJoyn-enabled devices that alliance members may produce. That’s important, especially considering the diverse stable of companies participating. To name a few:
- Haier, one of the world’s largest home-appliance suppliers
- ADT, the largest security service provider in the US and Canada
- Panasonic and Sony, two of the world’s most recognizable consumer electronics brands
- Fortune-100 member Honeywell, a leader in home comfort and security controls
Microsoft, an AllSeen Alliance member, has already said that Windows 10 will support AllJoyn, which means that smartphones, tablets and 2-in-1s built with the upcoming operating system will include the capability.
The lights, which are the product of a collaboration between Qualcomm Atheros and LIFX, can play with other IoE platforms beside AllJoyn. This is for two reasons:
- They have enough onboard intelligence and programmability to adapt to new standards as they come up
- They come out of the box able to receive over-the-air firmware updates, which means adding support for new platforms and adding new capabilities will be painless for consumers
The bulbs are already playing with others. They interact with Nest products. The smoke detector, Nest Protect, will flash the colored lights red to signal trouble. And when the Nest thermostat senses you’ve left the house, it will put the lights into an away mode.
In addition to supporting Nest, LIFX has a channel on IFTTT (If This, Then That), an online service that enables you to write “recipes” that control your connected devices. There are a few recipes already on the site for LIFX bulbs. One of the recipes uses your zip code to find out when the sun will set, and then adjusts the lights to simulate sunset.
The connected LED bulbs are the result of a collaboration between Qualcomm Atheros and LIFX. In fact, Qualcomm Atheros is making the platform available to prospective connected lighting suppliers, either as a module or white-label bulb.
Yes, the bulbs are a good choice for the future. And they’re also compelling today. LIFX CEO Marc Alexander told me the bulbs “have by far the widest color gamut across all connected lighting.” The app that controls the bulb is also intuitive and fun.
And the more connected devices you add to the mix, the more possibilities – both for fun and function. That will give developers many more opportunities to come up with new and valuable uses for the connected lights.
So enjoy the novelty of the lights today. And rest assured, those lights will be indispensable tomorrow. I think you’ll agree, that’s a gift that keeps on giving.