Internet-connected LED bulbs offer greater energy efficiency and remote-controlled operation over their standard counterparts. As the use of mobile apps to switch and/or dim lights becomes more mainstream, some companies are taking the next step towards futuristic sophistication. The Nanoleaf Smarter Kit is designed to provide smart lighting control through voice commands given to Siri.
It may not be too long before the smart home becomes the "voice-controlled smart home." Owners can adjust their Nest Thermostat using Google Now's voice commands, Amazon Echo's Alexa understands a host of spoken tasks, Insteon's smart home system interacts through Microsoft's Cortana, and Philips' upgraded Hue Bridge engages with Siri via Apple's HomeKit platform.
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While Nanoleaf's Smarter Kit may not be the first to incorporate voice commands with LED lights, its unique bulbs address heat issues and are one of the most energy-efficient. The Nanoleaf One (formerly NanoLight) was recently declared as a winner of the international SEAD (Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment) Global Efficiency Medal competition. Nanoleaf's new Smart Ivy bulbs, included as part of the Smarter Kit, are equivalent to a 60-Watt incandescent and use even less energy than the Nanoleaf One.
The heart of the Nanoleaf Smarter Kit is the dodecahedron-inspired Nanoleaf Smart Hub, which uses the Zigbee protocol to communicate with up to 50 bulbs within a 164-foot (50-meter) range. The Nanoleaf Smart Hub is designed to connect to a local wireless network in order to receive interpreted voice instructions from Siri (Android support with Google Now will come early 2016 as a no-cost software update to the hub) before passing the message along to the appropriate light(s). Those who aren't in the mood for voice control can manually adjust lighting through Nanoleaf's mobile app.
The Nanoleaf smarter app allows users to name bulbs, create rooms and scenes, and assign bulbs to rooms. Once set, Siri will be able to understand commands such as "lights on/off in the bedroom" and "dim the living room lights to 35 percent." Rooms and scenes can be named and configured as desired, so it's possible to have most lights shut off, with a few set to dim, upon telling Siri "movie time!" for the ideal theater experience.
Nanoleaf's Smarter Kit is also designed to grow over time. Although it comes with the company's Smart Ivy bulbs, people are free to choose other bulb brands and HomeKit-compatible iOS apps to work with the Nanoleaf Smart Hub. The Zigbee protocol used by the hub has been tested for compatibility with GE Link and Philips Hue bulbs. Additionally, the Nanoleaf Smart Hub's software will receive protocol updates and/or new features without any added cost or hardware requirements. And as a bonus, users will be able to dim lights with double-clicks of regular switches.
The Nanoleaf Smarter Kit is currently funding on Indiegogo, having raised 26 percent of its US$40,000 goal in just two days, with another 29 days left to go. A pledge of $79 gets one Smarter Kit, which includes the hub and two Smart Ivy bulbs, with free worldwide shipping.
If production goes according to schedule, backers can expect shipments of the Nanoleaf Smarter Kit to start sometime this December.
Check out the video below for the product's highlights and features.