FTF News reports upon some cutting-edge offerings that help people better utilize their ever-smarter homes.

(Editor’s note: Over the years, FTF News has dipped its toe into the ocean of cutting-edge consumer gadgets that can make life easier and could easily cause your bonus to evaporate. For this installment, the focus is on products that could be quite useful in what is becoming known as smart homes, which are residences that are Wi-Fi, etc. connected to the outside world. All of the offerings we’re featuring today (and much more) were on display at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! press event in New York City in late June.)

Shedding Light on the Lighting Controls Market

Before we dive into the gadgets, I’d like to mention a new report from Navigant Research that focuses on the global market for what is known as the “residential energy efficient lighting and lighting controls” market.

A new Navigant report, “Market Data: Residential Energy Efficient Lighting and Lighting Controls,” covers regions, technology types, product types, and building types, to the year 2027.

“Increased interest in the smart home and desire for home automation is spurring global adoption of connected LED [light-emitting diode] lighting,” according to Navigant, which predicts that “residential lighting controls revenue will grow from $963.0 million to $1.5 billion from 2018 to 2027.”

That prediction is not exactly stunning as far as the rate of growth, and Navigant explains why.

“Despite the added value of connected LEDs, overall market penetration of these products is still small. This is partly due to consumers’ lack of understanding of the value and use cases of connected lighting products,” according to the report.

“Declining LED prices and the longer lifetime are helping to drive adoption of non-connected LEDs,” says Krystal Maxwell, a research analyst with Navigant Research, in a prepared statement. “However, these drivers are different for connected LEDs, which are centered around growing adoption of the smart home and added values of connected lighting focused on security and health.”

The report also finds that lighting manufacturers “are turning toward lighting controls and connected products to continue adding value for customers. Controls and connected LED products also provide manufacturers a new or increased revenue stream as revenue for residential lamps declines. This is due to declining LED prices and the replacement of legacy lighting products with longer lasting LEDs.  However, even with the increased number of available controls products, demand for controls in the residential sector is still not strong.”

Noon Home Inc. Offers Remote Coordination for Lighting

Despite very modest growth for the lighting controls market, Noon Home Inc. is forging ahead and says that it intends to provide cost-effective, remote coordination of bulbs and fixtures in homes.

Noon App

Company officials say that some of the key features of its offerings are:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi;
  • Support for the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless personal area network technology;
  • Bulb sensing technology;
  • Firmware to facilitate lighting controls;
  • And challenges for “DIYers and weekend warriors.”

Some of the specific offerings are:

  • The Noon Smart Lighting System, which includes a “Room Director switch and companion Extension Switches, which communicate wirelessly via Bluetooth Low Energy technology.”
  • One-Touch Control that allows end-users to control lights so that they “can be adjusted with one-touch, from the Room Director’s glass touch-screen OLED display.”
  • A Built-In Lighting Designer that “automatically creates three unique scenes — Relax, Everyday and Bright, by analyzing information about each bulb, fixture and room type. Customers can also create custom scenes to fit how they use their rooms, like Cooking, Entertaining or Movie Time. These scenes can then be selected right at the switch or controlled via the Noon App from anywhere.”
  • The vendor also offers Smart Features such as the “Night Light, which turns on ultra-low light when you walk by the Room Director, and Vacation Mode, which plays back learned patterns to mimic the homeowner’s actual behaviors. Noon also supports voice activation with Amazon Alexa (coming soon).”
  • And Noon Home also offers what it says is its Exclusive Bulb Discovery Technology, a “patented bulb discovery technology reads electrical currents and uses advanced algorithms to identify bulb type. Noon is the only lighting system to automatically detect bulb type, creating compatibility with virtually any residential bulb: dimmable and non-dimmable bulbs, incandescent, LED, CFL and fluorescent, as well as ELV (electronic low voltage) and MLV (magnetic low voltage) fixtures. Noon combines bulb type with the fixture and room type to automatically create customized layered light scenes and minimizes low-level popping, flickering and buzzing.”

igloohome Focuses on Smart Access to Smart Homes

A vendor of smart access solutions, igloohome exhibited two new products — Deadbolt 2S Smart Lock, Smart Keybox 2 — and other smart access offerings at the Digital Experience! event.

The Deadbolt 2S “measures at 11mm (less than 0.5 inches) thickness for the front panel and offers “keyless access to their homes via Bluetooth keys and PIN codes,” officials say. “The Keybox 2 provides rental hosts a smart lockbox which works offline, without any need for permanent door alteration.”

The smart access solutions can assist “property management anywhere in the world. Start and end times for PIN codes and Bluetooth keys can be customized, each time securing the property after use. Permanent PIN codes can also be created,” officials say. “Access logs are provided to master owners, so that the dates and times of visitor access can be tracked, for greater peace of mind. Other key features for all igloohome’s smart access solutions include a security lockout mode, low battery warning, and an emergency power supply.”

In addition, the vendor says that Airbnb hosts “can integrate their calendars with these solutions for the automatic generation of PIN codes for guests. igloohome also offers APIs and SDKs for project partners, such as hotel chains, allowing for the seamless integration of the access solutions into existing smart ecosystems. Further, igloohome’s innovative encryption technology allows its locks to work without Internet access, increasing reliability against Wi-Fi hacking.”

The Smart Deadbolt 2S also offers a tamper alarm, decoy security code, privacy mode, and auto-relocking, officials say.

Time for a Remote-Controlled Fireplace?

Bond and Alexa

Olibra, which makes the Bond solutions for linking smart home devices, recently released support for the remote control of indoor and outdoor fireplaces. The new support is available for all Bond users via a mobile application update, officials say.

“Our initial focus has been temperature comfort and control, providing legacy support to remote controlled ceiling fans and now fireplaces,” says Zohar Shinar, CEO of Olibra, in a prepared statement. “Our vision is to continue to make it easy and fast for our users to setup their favorite appliances within their Amazon Echo or Google Home ecosystem,” Shinar says.

Vendor officials say the Bond system offers:

  • Support for infrared receiver (IR) or radio frequency (RF) remote-control devices via Wi-Fi without additional wiring or hardware;
  • Setup via a mobile application;
  • Ways to record and remembers remote control signals;
  • Voice control with customized Alexa skills and Google Assistant actions;

And integration with SmartThings, Nest and Ecobee via IFTTT applets.



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