Turn On the Lights? There’s an App for That
GE now has a line of LED light bulbs called Link that can be controlled with a smartphone app.
The bulbs are a low-cost entry into what one retailer calls “the connected-home lifestyle,” which market analysts at Parks Associates say will grow into a $3.5 billion industry by 2018. By the end of the year, Parks said, 4% of all U.S. households will have a smart home controller, increasing to 6% by the end of 2015.
Linked LEDs come in three variations: a 60w bulb (A19), used for general lighting such as floor or table lamps; an indoor floodlight (BR30) used for downlighting in dining and living areas; and an indoor/outdoor spotlight (PAR38).
The bulbs work with a free app called Wink, an operating system developed by a company called Quirky that’s designed to run a number of automated home devices. Quirky has since spun off Wink into its own company, according to an article in The New York Times.
Link bulbs, which range in cost from $15 to $25 each, are on sale at The Home Depot. You’ll also need a Wink home hub, which is sold separately. That lists for $50 at Home Depot.
GE cites several advantages for the Link LED. If you’ve left the house for the day and realize you left the lights on, they can be turned off via smarthphone; or, if you’re on vacation and want to give the appearance that someone is at home, you can turn specific lights on and off.
Philips already sells a more expensive app-controlled lighting system called Hue. A starter pack with three bulbs and a wireless bridge costs about $200.
GE's new Link LED light bulb is a 60-watt equivalent that can be activated by a smartphone.