Numerous tech innovations were talk-of-the-town at the recently-concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas. Here are a few from the world of lighting:
After showcasing a number of futuristic technological innovations for four continuous days, CES 2019 came to a halt on January 11. More than 4,500 exhibitors including global brands and visionary start-ups presented their latest innovations to some 1,80,000 attendees. In the gadget-lover’s paradise that was spread across more than 2.9 million sq. ft. of the exhibit space in Las Vegas, the companies set the world abuzz with technologies that will continue to set trends in the coming years.
Every year, for millions of technology-lovers from around the globe, the tech titans and scrappy start-ups alike descended on the venue to show off the amazing products they’ve been quietly toiling away on all year – and offer consumers a glimpse of the future. While most of the tech-products sport an LED in either form, there weren’t many for illumination purpose. But the ones showcased in lighting have the power to set the ball rolling for defining the future trend.
It was tough to select the most admiring presentations in lighting electronics, still we tried bringing forth a few that reportedly attracted most of the eyeballs and forced the curious tech-lovers to remain glued for some time, before lurking to rove on for the next best in the row.
GE Lighting Expands Bluetooth-based Smart SSL Portfolio
To start with is the most amazing presentation from GE Lighting, C by GE residentially-targeted smart LED lighting portfolio that has been seen in an expanded form at CES 2019 wherein the company has added full-colour LED lamps along with smart switches and accessories.
“Lighting is pervasive at home, which makes for an intuitive way to turn on smart benefits,” Paul Williams, general manager of product management & growth at GE Lighting has been quoted as saying on the occasion of the launch at CES. He further added, “At GE, we are leveraging lighting’s real estate, plus powerful partner connections, to launch new easy-to-use platforms that drive more productivity, safety, and enjoyment throughout the home.”
The residentially-targeted solid-state lighting (SSL) line now includes a full colour lamp along with Bluetooth-enabled switches and accessories. Moreover, the C by GE portfolio carries Made for Google status and will work seamlessly with all of the Google Home smart hubs. GE joined Signify in making smart home SSL announcements at the CES event in Las Vegas.
GE chose to base the C by GE portfolio on the Bluetooth wireless standard so no additional hub or gateway would be required to utilise the products. For example, the popular Philips Hue products from Signify utilise ZigBee wireless, which affords advantages in range and scale, but which does require a dedicated gateway.
The highpoint is that GE gets Google on board with its latest smart LED lamps in both colour and white-tuneable offerings, among other products in the C by GE line. GE has partnered with Google to make the use of the connected SSL products foolproof. Users that have a Google Home or Mini or other Google hub can simply connect one of the lamps to a socket and then say “Hey Google” to instigate a connection with the lamp and enable voice-based control.
Earlier in October 2018, GE had augmented its portfolio with two A19 lamps. The C-Life lamp is warm white and supports dimming. The C-Sleep, meanwhile, offers three different tuneable settings with spectral power distribution (SPD) optimised for Vibrant (morning), Active (daytime), or Calm (evening) settings. That product is also fully dimmable via voice control.
Going forward, C by GE has now introduced colour solutions with millions of colour options, plus tuneable whites, in a 60W equivalent A19 bulb, a BR30 for recessed cans and a custom-sized light strip. All these products can be controlled via the user’s voice, or through programmatic settings. For all these products to be fruitful to users, of course, there’s an app that allows them to customise their experience by creating tailor-made scenes and settings.
GE’s gamut also included switches and accessories, which are intended to allow users to bring legacy products including other LED-based lighting into their C by GE sphere of control. For example, the Smart Switches sport dimming capability for a legacy lamp and enable voice control of such lamps. In terms of accessories, the portfolio includes a voice-controllable power plug and a motion sensor.
According to GE, the lamps though carry the Made for Google designation; the products are also made compatible to work with other home automation system, specifically with Apple Homekit and Amazon Alexa.
Philips Hue Adds Outdoor Sensor, Launches Welcome & Discover Floodlights
Philips Hue expanded its outdoor range of smart lights with an Outdoor Sensor, Welcome Floodlight and Discover Floodlight. The Outdoor sensor can be installed wherever the users like as per his/ her convenience – it is weather-resistant, wireless and battery-powered – and it can be assigned to switch on specific lights when motion is detected. The Welcome Flood Light is wall-mounted and offers one shade of bright white light, while the Discover Flood Light can also be wall-mounted but if offers white and colour ambience light.
In fact, Philips Hue released a range of smart lights designed for outdoor applications last year and now it is expanding the range by adding motion sensor that can turn the lights on automatically as it senses someone’s presence. The outdoor sensor is weather-resistant, wireless and battery-powered. It can be installed on a garage wall, in the garden or on the front of any home and assigned to switch on specific lights when it detects motion. It has a detection range of 12 metres and an integrated dusk to dawn meter that ensures lights are only switched on when it is dark outside.
Other new additions to the Philips Hue outdoors range include a Welcome Flood Light that is wall-mounted and shines in one shade of bright white light, plus a Discover Flood Light that can also be wall-mounted but is capable of displaying white and colour ambience light. Apart from these, there is also a selection of other wall lights in the Econic Family that has been released at the same time, but only in Europe (not the US). Further, the Philips Hue Fuzo family of lights include a pedestal, three wall lights and a white light.
Xiaomi-backed Yeelight Launches Apple HomeKit Compatible Devices & BLE MESH Lights
Sticking to the principle of making smart lighting easier, Yeelight, an innovator in smart lighting applications, has introduced a couple of products to enhance global users’ home lighting experience. As a Xiaomi ecosystem company, Yeelight first brought a couple of products compatible with Apple HomeKit under the Mi brand, including Mi Bedside Lamp 2, Mi Desk Lamp Pro and
Mi LED Color Bulb. These products were launched into the market and support voice control with Siri®, or the Apple Home app on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. Compatibility with Apple HomeKit further enlarges the users’ base and applicability of Yeelight to all iOS customers providing an easier and secure way to control home lights using Apple devices. Moving ahead, Yeelight has also announced its commitment to support HomeKit in its own products, including Yeelight Aurora light strip plus and Yeelight smart bulbs, which is expected to be available in the coming months.
Further augmenting the panorama of its decorative lighting segment, Yeelight has come up with BLE MESH lighting group products which included the light bulbs, the candle bulbs, the downlights, and the spotlights. All these lights are aimed at taking care of the major lighting needs in home decoration. Compared with the WiFi-based lighting system wherein network pairing is exhaustive as it allows separate connection for each lamp, one-by-one; while the BLE MESH lighting group offers an easier and more stable connection to the network by facilitating batch connection.
Such BLE MESH technology suits, in particular, the application of bulbs, downlights or spotlights at home, which the users may like to use in batches. All the lights in Yeelight BLE MESH lighting group are dimmable and support the adjustment of colour temperature, remote control and programmable setting through APP. Voice control with AI speakers, such as Yeelight Voice Assistant and Xiaomi Alarm, is also possible.
Earlier in December, Yeelight announced the publication of BLE MESH lighting group in a crowd-funding campaign in China at Xiaomi Youpin. The crowd-funding results turned out to be quite positive, exceeding the fund-raising goal by 1607%. It is the first time that Yeelight has introduced the BLE MESH lighting group to the overseas market through CES.
Ring Launches Smart Lighting for Enhanced Security around Homes
Continuing its mission to reduce crime in neighbourhoods, Ring has announced the availability of Ring Smart Lighting, its latest home security product line comprising an affordable, easy-to-install network of outdoor, motion-sensing lights that work together to illuminate the dark areas around the home. When these networking security smart lights detect any motion, they turn on and trigger one another; and can send notifications via the Ring app on the user’s mobile device. These lights can also be integrated with Ring Doorbells and Cams so that when one camera or Smart Light detects movement in the premises, the other Smart Lights turn on and all cameras begin recording.
Security and surveillance powerhouse Ring, which is now owned by Amazon has unveiled its Ring Smart Lighting with a full line of landscape lighting and sensor devices – most of which are battery-powered and touted for outdoor applications. The products evolved from Ring’s 2018 acquisition of Mr. Beams, which in 2015 introduced NetBright outdoor-lighting products. Mr Beams is a 14-year-old manufacturer of energy-efficient, battery-operated LED lighting devices that had no connection whatsoever to the network, the cloud, the IoT, the connected home.
Ring Smart Lighting system includes floodlights, pathway lights, steplights, low-voltage transformer, motion sensor and Ring Bridge for integrating into a home automation system. In all, the Ring Smart Lighting line includes eight integrated products ranging from battery-powered, motion-sensing landscape lights and spotlights to an AC-powered, motion sensing floodlight and a low-voltage transformer.
Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor and Founder of Ring, has been reported as mentioning, “Ring Smart Lighting helps deter crime by acting as the ‘eyes’ of the home security system and delivering an ‘always home’ presence. Darkness is a major contributor to safety and security concerns among consumers, yet most currently available outdoor lighting solutions have limited capabilities and can be difficult to install.” He asserted that Ring Smart Lighting would take home lighting to the next level and can even make existing outdoor lights smarter. “In just a few minutes, neighbours can create an entire network of security lights around their homes and integrate all their Ring cameras and lights right in the Ring app for enhanced, proactive home security.”
By combining energy efficient LED lights with motion sensors and Ring’s proprietary long-range network, Ring Smart Lighting can turn on other Ring Smart Lights as well as Ring Doorbells and Cams and alert customers of motion on their property. For example, when one Ring Smart Light detects motion in the driveway, it can trigger the other Smart Lights to turn on. For Ring Protect Plus subscribers, the Smart Lights can also trigger any Ring Doorbells and Cams installed in the premises to begin recording when motion is detected. The user can receive a push notification via the Ring app on their mobile device and see and speak to anyone who is there via their Cam or Doorbell. Connect Ring Smart Lighting to compatible Alexa-enabled devices to ask Alexa to “turn on my back yard lights” and/ or alert the user when there’s motion in the yard.
Ring Smart Lighting is available for pre-order at Ring.com and Amazon.com and will begin shipping in March, after which it will also be available in other major retailers outside the US in select countries later this year.
Argrace Showcases AIoT Whole-House Smart Solutions at CES 2019
Argrace, a smart home solutions provider, showcased its Living House concept for the first time at CES 2019. Technology fans got the first-hand opportunity to experience how homes of the future will be powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). The technology giant that demonstrated its latest smart home solutions based on AIoT focuses on building platforms for a smarter living environment by connecting various home devices.
As the company’s CMO, Lin Wei has been quoted as saying, “CES is an important stage for displaying the latest consumer technology, and Argrace’s AIoT-powered whole-house smart solutions are among the leading practices in the AI industry.” Wei believes that Argrace’s solutions can be connected with over 1,000 products and devices from various brands. “The future we envisage is the creation of a new AIoT ecosystem based on system integration (SI) — a new force in the whole-house smart home field.”
By analysing each family member’s behaviour, Argrace’s products can optimise user experience based on an individual’s preferences and big data analysis. For example, it facilitates playing customised music at a fitting temperature with appropriate ambient lighting. The company’s smart house intelligence offers personalised services.
In addition to personalised user experience, Argrace holds a strong advantage in the compatibility of home appliances as an open platform that has already signed connection agreements with industry leaders ZigBee, Bluetooth, Modbus and NB-IoT among others. Unlike other players in the smart home industry, Argrace’s platform provides a seamless experience for users based on AIoT technology to realise non-inductive control.