Things are looking bright for the future of connected lighting -- here are some of the most interesting recent arrivals (and a few that are coming soon to a smart home near you).
Beon Starter Pack
What if your light bulbs could listen for your doorbell or your alarm, then come on automatically to scare off potential intruders? What if they'd continue working even when the power is out? That's the pitch for BeOn, a set of smart lights with some of the most unique features we've seen. They don't come cheap, but we think they still merit a close look.
GE wants smart lighting to be beneficial and easy to use, and to that end, they'll soon be releasing the C by GE Starter Pack. Featuring Bluetooth bulbs that change color temperatures in rhythm with your sleep cycle, the bulbs promise to help you get a better night's rest. Rumors of Apple HomeKit compatibility make them even more interesting -- as does the fact that they'll be some of the most affordable smart lights on the market when they debut in early 2016.
Lifx emerged last year as a key competitor to Philips Hue, and it's slowly been getting better and better. First it added in IFTTT support, then it slashed the price of its color-changing Wi-Fi LED by 40 percent. Then, it debuted integrations with Windows and with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Now, the second-gen Lifx color-changer is here -- the Lifx 1000. It looks more or less the same as the original, but it's smaller and more energy efficient. Keep your eye on this one.
Nanoleaf bulbs feature an awesomely weird-looking design that puts the diodes on the outside (just flip back to slide No. 1 to see what I'm talking about). But what I want to show you right now is the bulb-controlling Nanoleaf Hub that comes in the new, connected Nanoleaf Smarter Pack. It's a sleek little dodecahedron -- easily the coolest-looking control device of its kind. Add in the fact that the new smart bulbs will work with Apple HomeKit, and you're looking at one of next year's most anticipated lighting products.
If you know anything about smart light, then you know about Philips Hue's color-changing bulbs. They're one of the most high-profile smart-home products in any category, and one of their main draws is that they work with just about everything. Now, thanks to a second-generation hub, they work with Apple HomeKit, too -- that means you can change the color of your lights simply by asking Siri.
Interested in Philips Hue's connected lighting platform, but wary of the high cost of buying in? Check out the Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit. The bulbs don't change colors, but they do sync directly with a handy remote, letting you use them right out of the box without need for the Hue Bridge. They also cost significantly less than their color-changing cousins.