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Smart bulbs can light your way when it counts

Smart bulbs offer convenience in the form of pre-scheduled, automated lighting changes -- but some can also light up in times of emergency. Click through for a look at your options.

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BeOn Bulbs

One of the most obvious examples of an emergency-minded smart bulb is BeOn, a connected light that's almost exclusively focused on safety and security. Each bulb has a built-in microphone that you can train to listen for the sound of your alarm system. If it ever goes off, the bulbs will come on. They'll also listen for your doorbell, then turn on if they hear it to help fool potential intruders into thinking you're home when you're not.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Battery backup

BeOn bulbs also have built-in batteries, which means that you can still use them if the lamp is switched off -- or if the power goes out.

Published:Caption:Photo:Ry Crist/CNET

Philips Hue

Philips Hue's color-changing smart bulbs have an obvious novelty appeal. And if you pair them up with the Nest Protect Smoke Detector, they'll automatically switch to the shade that makes it easiest to see in smoky conditions if something is amiss.

Published:Caption:Photo:Colin West McDonald/CNET


The Lifx color-changing LED works with Nest in the same way. You can also use its IFTTT channel to program color-coded weather notifications

Published:Caption:Photo:Colin West McDonald/CNET

Lutron Caseta

They aren't smart bulbs, but Lutron's set of smart switches and remotes work with Nest too. It will let you pair your lamps up with your system regardless of what bulbs you use.

Published:Caption:Photo:Colin West McDonald/CNET
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Cree Connected LED

Generic, low-cost smart bulbs like the Cree Connected LED don't offer native, built-in emergency lighting features, but they'll work with larger systems like SmartThings. Sync them up as part of a DIY security setup, and you'll be able to set your lights to turn on automatically if a motion sensor catches someone sneaking into your home.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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The same goes for the GE Link LED -- like Cree's smart bulb, it sells for just $15, making it a relatively affordable entry point into smarter lighting.

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Hold off on HomeKit

There's a lot of potential for Apple HomeKit to offer comprehensive smart lighting solutions that can help light the way during an emergency, but the features haven't been well implemented yet. If safety-minded lighting is your game, give HomeKit a little more time before buying in -- other systems like Nest and SmartThings are further ahead at this point.

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET
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