INSTEON launches iPhone-controlled LED light bulb
July 2, 2012
Purveyors of fine home automation technology INSTEON claim to be first to market with a "networked remote control dimmable LED light bulb". Compatible with any INSTEON remote control, the bulb can also be paired with INSTEON's free iOS and Android app so that it can be turned on, off, or dimmed, using most contemporary smartphones.
The new bulb fits neatly into an INSTEON home automation network, and like other INSTEON devices can be preconfigured along with other devices into "scenes" that can be selected by the user with either the app or a remote control with a single finger-poke.
The light bulb is therefore fully compatible with (but exclusively with) INSTEON's range of sensors, which include motion detectors and magnetic contacts that can trigger devices when particular doors are opened or closed. As well as using radio frequencies, INSTEON signals are transmitted across the house's electrical wiring using its proprietary communications system (INSTEON is not an open standard such as X10).
According to an INSTEON press release the light bulb consumes "8 watt (60 W)" of power. We assume the parenthetical 60 W is shorthand for "this emits about the same amount of light as a 60 W incandescent light bulb," though this isn't stated explicitly. Light output, color temperate and lifetime information are missing from the release, which is somewhat akin to announcing a new internet television but neglecting to tell customers its size or resolution. We've asked INSTEON for details and will update this story if and when we receive word.
More commendable is the light bulb's price of US$29.99. Though LED bulbs do come cheaper, this is firmly within the bracket for good quality bulbs. Assuming the bulb's performance does turn out to be comparable to the competition, it's an impressive price considering the added functionality. Perhaps INSTEON is willing to sell at a discounted rate in hopes that the light bulb will tempt new customers into adopting more of its home automation technology, effectively locking them in to the INSTEON closed standard.
Update, July 3 2012We've heard back from INSTEON with those outstanding technical specs. INSTEON told Gizmag that its LED bulb has a lumen efficacy of 56 lumens per watt, giving it an overall output of 448 lumens. You have to question the implied 60 W incandescent equivalence, then, since a 60 W incandescent bulbs emit around 870 lumens. A 40 W equivalency would seem nearer the mark, but even then 448 lumens falls short of the 505 lumen output of an incandescent bulb of that rating.
INSTEON also told us that the bulb's color temperature is 3000K and it has a life time of 50,000 hours - an impressive figure, but also one that is frequently quoted for LED products.