Fluorescent tube replacement has apps, LED, Wi-Fi

LED light panel from Japan's NetLED could be the superstar of all light fixtures.

Here's a phrase that might make you groan: cloud-based LED florescent tube replacement lights. NetLED

Conventional fluorescent tube light fixtures officially need to die now that a Japanese company has announced a Wi-Fi-equipped LED fluorescent tube lamp replacement worthy of being on a spaceship.

The 40W LED light panel from NetLED is networkable to the cloud, allowing users to dim the lights to various intervals of brightness (and wattage) from a computer, smartphone, RFID-enabled device, or motion/light sensors. An iOS app for NetLED is already available, and according to AV Watch, an Android version is in the pipeline as well.

As with any other technology way ahead of its time, there's a rather large cost involved with NetLED's fixtures. Each individual main tube costs 19,800 yen ($257), but the main tube can drive up to three secondary lights, which cost 14,000 yen ($182). Then you need the primary NetLED server, which sets you back another 60,000 yen ($781) and supports up to 100 lights.

The setup for the NetLED light is rather complex, but could seamlessly blend into corporate environments and eventually offer long-term savings. (Click to enlarge.) NetLED

Using LED lights in an office is a wise power-saving solution that currently presents a rather large initial cost, but NetLED offers some compelling control schemes.

Its marketing literature (PDF) says "the tubes over the desks along the window can be dimmed to a 10 percent lighting level while tubes over the desks along the darker corridors can be set to a higher lighting level." That's some serious power-savings potential.

Another option is that the lights could shine at their brightest levels above the desks of those who are working overtime, while lighting above empty desks slims down to 20 percent brightness. The apps also display a historical graph of power consumption, as well as real-time monitoring.

If you don't need any of that fancy networking capability, many LED florescent tube replacements start around $50. Many LED fluorescent replacement panels, like the NetLED strip, have a 40,000-hour lifespan.

The NetLED light might have a little bit of a power problem in a different sense; it also has the capability "to prevent individual users from exceeding a preset energy consumption cap." Yikes! Talk about taking office micro management to the extreme.

A closer look at the iPhone and iPad interface for NetLED. (Click to enlarge.) NetLED
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