We’ve seen plenty of smart lightbulbs in the Internet of Things market, but that didn’t stop us from having a “lightbulb moment” when we first read about San Francisco-based startup Emberlight. Instead of shelling out $100 or more for smart LEDs that produce millions of colors, Emberlight is a socket attachment that can make any bulb smart for about half the price.
Installation is simple: Emberlight screws into the light socket, and your old bulb -- whether incandescent, halogen, CFL or LED -- screws into Emberlight. The attachment connects over wifi to give users typical smart light controls over single bulbs, groups of bulbs, timers, dimming, presets and remote access through a mobile app. There’s also a proximity mode that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to turn the lights on when you’re at or nearing home, and off when you’re not.
Lighting is already a strong candidate for “gateway” products that will introduce mainstream consumers to the IoT, and Emberlight makes it even easier to experiment with connected devices. It will appeal especially to people who’ve already made a long-term investment in “dumb” CFLs or LED bulbs and don’t want to replace those perfectly usable lights so soon. And with a forthcoming API, Emberlight will integrate easily with other products once users catch the home automation bug.
Emberlight can be preordered via Kickstarter through Sept. 4, with devices planned to start shipping in Feb. 2015. The campaign has already hit several stretch goals, including production of a “bayonet” version that will fit light sockets in countries like the UK, India and Australia. See the video below to learn more.
Related: WiFi lights round-up
Author: Ted Burnham