Stack's smart bulbs keep track of motion in your home

You could already trigger these motion-tracking smart bulbs by walking into the room -- now, Stack wants to put that occupancy data to better use.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Is anybody home? Just ask the lightbulbs.

The Stack app will now show you which rooms in your home have people in them, as well as how long it's been since motion was detected in the other rooms.

Photo by Stack Lighting

That's the idea behind the new "Home Awareness" feature for the app-enabled, motion-tracking Stack LED lightbulbs. The bulbs already use their built-in motion sensors to turn on automatically when you enter the room, and to sync up with the Nest Learning Thermostat to let it know if you're in a part of the house that needs a little extra heat. Now, you'll be able to track that occupancy data right in the Stack app, or receive alerts when motion is detected at odd hours.

Also new: a "House Sitting" mode. Turn it on, and your Stack bulbs will automatically cycle on and off while you're away to help make it look like you're home.

The new features arrive today for existing Stack users via app update, and will apply to all Stack bulbs moving forward. That includes the new Stack Classic LEDs, which have begun shipping out to preorder customers and are available for direct purchase online.

Unlike the original, floodlight-shaped Stack LEDs, which are designed for overhead use, the Stack Classic bulbs are, as the name suggests, traditionally shaped light bulbs meant for use in lamps, sconces and other common household light fixtures. The Stack Classic bulbs will use radio-frequency (RF) motion detection, which lets them "see" through things like lampshades to determine whether or not anybody is in the room.

The same hallway in the CNET Smart Home, lit by each of the Stack app's three color temperature presets. The difference is subtle, but noticeable.

Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

In addition to tracking motion, Stack's dimmable smart bulbs track ambient light levels, too, which lets you set them to automatically fade up and down during the day for maximum efficiency. They're also color tunable, which lets you adjust between warm, candle-like tones and hotter, more bluish-white daylight shades. If you like, you can program those color temperature changes to happen automatically throughout the day -- bright white light to help you wake up in the morning and warmer tones at night to help you relax before bed, for instance.

The bulbs are also compatible with Amazon's Alexa for voice-activated lighting changes, as well as the free online automation service IFTTT.

The new motion-tracking smarts help cement Stack's place in an emerging category of security-minded smart lighting products. Other examples include Philips Hue bulbs that sync with the Nest Protect smoke detector to serve as emergency lights, a new color-changing Lifx bulb that acts as a range extender for night vision cameras, and the BeOn LED, a battery-powered smart bulb designed to shine during power outages, or when it hears the sound of a doorbell or an alarm.

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