Smart Home

TCP debuts new connected devices at Lightfair

A wireless gateway, a presence detector and a motion sensor are slated to smarten up TCP's connected LEDs in 2015.

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NEW YORK -- The Connected by TCP LED Lighting Kit is getting a hardware upgrade this year, the company announced this week at the Lightfair International trade show here. You can expect to see new TCP motion-sensor and smart switch accessories by the end of the summer, along with a new wireless version of the system's gateway device that plugs directly into any outlet in your home.

Ry Crist/CNET

There's new software in store, too, with a major refresh of the TCP control app coming for both Android and iOS devices. The new app promises a cleaner, more streamlined interface, along with deeper features and more intuitive controls.

It's a good time for TCP to be shoring up its system. The starter kit made a good first impression in 2013, with functional bulbs and an affordable price tag that put it ahead of the curve. The competition has intensified significantly since then, however, with major players like Philips , GE and Cree all making strong plays at low-cost connected lighting. TCP made some strides towards keeping up -- most notably, adding third-party support from SmartThings and Belkin WeMo -- but ultimately fell behind its newer, flashier competitors.

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With the hardware boost, TCP hopes to close that gap. First up is the smart switch, which will work more or less like the other smart switches on the market, including the Belkin WeMo Switch . Plug it in and plug something else into it, and you'll be able to turn that thing on or off remotely from TCP's app, or schedule it to come on automatically.

After that comes TCP's motion sensor, due on store shelves by August. TCP tells me that it's designed to detect both motion and presence. Even if you're sitting motionless in front of it, it'll know that you're still there, the company claims. In the new version of TCP's app, you'll be able to use that motion and presence data to trigger lighting and smart switch changes.

TCP also claims that the motion sensor is "pet-proof," meaning that your dog or cat won't constantly be setting it off while you're away. We'll have to bring our pets into the office while we're testing the new hardware out and see what they have to say about that.

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Pricing isn't finalized for any of the new components, though TCP will soon begin selling new starter kits that include the new plug-in gateway, the new accessories and multiple bulbs for "roughly the same price as the old kits."