Behind all the technology options, however, there’s the critical component of the user experience, he added. The holy grail of smart lighting is to build a light bulb that screws in, turns itself on, finds its local network and signs itself up for duty with GreenWave’s cloud-based software management platform.
But as any “smart home” technician will tell you, today’s in-home networking technologies are far from that simple to install and initialize. Reports of so-called “interoperable” devices that can’t find each other on the network, or can’t communicate once they’re hooked up, are legion.
GreenWave and NXP aren’t the first to come up with the idea of a house full of IP-addressable smart light bulbs. Google and Lighting Sciences Group announced plans for a Wi-Fi-connected LED bulb to run over Google’s Android@Home platform, though we’ve seen little from the partners since then. NXP is believed to be the preferred supplier for that partnership as well.
But Memo said that he’s not aware of any other commercial offerings of the scale and scope of GreenWave and NXP’s new lighting solution. Controls options range from presets and schedules, to motion sensor and security card-triggered lighting, to daylight dimming, or dimming lights to respond to peak price emergencies, Memo said.
In fact, GreenWave has been testing its technology with such partners as Dong Energy and IBM in smart-grid-to-smart-home projects like Denmark’s Bornholm Island project, which links wind turbines, plug-in vehicles and smart home heating controls to balance power supply and demand. Last month, Sweden’s Fortum announced it was rolling out GreenWave’s home monitoring and energy management platform to its customers. Sweden’s deregulated market allows utilities to vie for customers, and adding nifty in-home energy controls could be a way to win over more of them, as well as to save energy.
The next test, of course, will come in the marketplace, as customers do or don’t buy in to the IP-addressable light bulb vision — and as they start to prove out the savings that smart LEDs promise. In the meantime, NXP and GreenWave support ZigBee and Z-Wave as well as Wi-Fi, and are looking at high-efficiency fluorescent lights as well as LEDs as targets for control, Memo said. Let the smart lighting network propagate across a thousand ceilings.
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