Is the “smart bulb” the future of lighting in U.S. homes?

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen November 8, 2012 1
Smart bulbs enable consumers to have more control over their lighting fixtures.
Smart bulbs enable consumers to have more control over their lighting fixtures.

Making it easier for homeowners in the United States to control their utility costs has been the goal of many businesses and government initiatives. While EnergyStar-rated products and consumer programs have certainly helped, it appears that technology hasn't completely solved this complex issue. Thankfully, the market will soon see a new line of hardware that Americans can use in their homes: smart bulbs.

Smart bulbs aren't just one product. Rather, they are a series of gadgets that all have one aim, which is to help homeowners have more control over their energy expenditures. According to a report from the industry source Midwest Energy News, features that seem experimental now could become the norm over the next few years.

"The lighting industry has been the lighting industry for 130 years," Terry McGowan, a director for the American Lighting Association, a corporate trade group, told the source. "All of a sudden now what we’re seeing is the electronics industry take a look at the lighting industry and say, 'hey, we've got some ideas.'"

One product, known as the Spark Socket, is like an add-on for your traditional bulb. When installed, it allows users to program the bulb so that it is connected to their smartphone or tablet computer. If they want to shut off all the lights in their house before going out, all the homeowner has to do is press a button. The company behind the project hopes that this technology will help consumers control their utility bills more effectively. Additionally, it could yield some home safety benefits by preventing lights from remaining on, which is a potential fire hazard.

You should keep an eye out in your nearest hardware store to see if they carry any smart bulbs. If you decide to opt for these helpful products, you may find that they are just what you need to reduce your electricity usage each month.

One Comment »

  1. Stephanie from Spark November 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the mention Thatcher! We’re pretty excited about the possibilities for use that come with our open API – developers all over the world will be able to write apps to interact and track lighting.

    The Spark Socket will actually be available starting on Tuesday (the 13th) via Kickstarter. In the meantime check out our site: http://www.sparkdevices.com

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