I like seeing the ideas coming through Kickstarter. Some are crazy while others are pedestrian. But one just caught my eye and I thought it was worth blogging about. It is LIFX that is billed as a reinvention of light bulb. Basically, these people wondered what could happen if you put WiFi connectivity in each light bulb. As it turns out the answer is: a lot.
The basic idea is that the problem with light bulbs (and you probably didn’t think of it this way) is control. You have to be located near a switch to turn them on and off. Sometimes you can do other things like dimming. But what happens when you don’t have to be near the switch? Then you don’t have to be near the switch. You can control the light from where ever. Now that isn’t quite a new idea. Very expensive wiring can get you a lot of the same thing but you really have to conceive of it when you build a house and then you are locked into the technology of the day. What LIFX does is save on all of those costs and avoids much of the lock-in. That means you can control lighting from an app and if you watch the video you can see that it can have uses from fun, to kid’s night lights, one button turn off all lights in the house, to easy to program light timing (much like the Nest has made programming thermostats easy; and by the way, that totally lives up to the hype).
Now it comes at a cost. Each bulb may cost around $50 — it is hard to tell. But they do apparently last 25 years. Of course, it all might fall apart with implementation. You are dealing with a WiFi network after all. But I can see a great consumer value/use case here. This isn’t the only Kickstarter project aimed at this type of issue. Smart Things hits on a similar problem. But right now networking the light bulb seems like a very straightforward idea.