back to article Taken a while but finally here's the first proper smart-home gizmo

It's been three years since we, here at El Reg, first started taking the introduction of a new generation of "smart home" devices seriously – and that was mostly focusing on the security implications. As well as stunningly poor security there is a plethora of competing standards. Back in 2014: X10, ZigBee, LightwaveRF, Z-Wave …

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One day I will perhaps understand

Why it is that house interior designers and their shills on TV and in the glossy magazines seem to think that lights are for 'accent' and 'hue' and 'mood' and *not for bloody well seeing things with*.

</rant>

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Re: One day I will perhaps understand

When I was younger, how I laughed at those further along life's highway than I with their craving for 150W lightbulbs. Now, as presbyopia sets in and a wide open iris results in unfocused images, I too seek out ever brighter illumination...

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Trollface

Re: I too seek out ever brighter illumination

No, you're actually looking for a vivifying accent in an energetic mood in a solar hue (ie white).

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Smart?

For me, a smart light source will:

- not produce radio-frequency interference

- not flicker or glimmer

- be silent

- have a continuous spectrum with excellent colour rendition across the spectrum

- have a variable colour temperature

- be energy efficient

- be cost effective (cheap!)

and my personal preference is for indirect lighting via diffuse reflection/transmission.

Of course, such a light source doesn't exist, and ugly compromises are made to best meet the most important criteria in the opinion of the people specifying lighting systems.

For an overview of some of the issues, this 172 page slideshow (pdf document) from 2012 is worth a skim-read.

Dimming LED sources: what’s working and what still needs fixing

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Re: Smart?

"For me, a smart light source will:

- not produce radio-frequency interference"

Oops, best not go outside then..

https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/solar-activity

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Re: Smart?

Have an upvote for a good quibble. Made me smile.

Have some random URLs illustrating the issue:

http://www.ledbenchmark.com/faq/LED-interference-issues.html

http://cxmagblog.com/2012/05/12/video-matters-rf-interference-from-led-screens-is-a-big-problem/

http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-s-oet-clarifies-emissions-compliance-testing-for-rf-led-lighting-devices

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Gold badge

Re: Smart?

Ah, you've reminded me of my Mum's LED lightbulbs. I don't know why she felt the need to have a dimmer switch in her kitchen - though I can understand the one in the sitting room.

But if you want the dimmer switch, you have to buy the more expensive bulbs. The ones in the kitchen flicker, and are a horrible greenish colour - and make me feel queasy. She doesn't even seem to notice the nasty green-ness. The sitting room ones are a nice colour, but still flicker. Especially if the dimmer isn't at full.

To be fair, I think I'm more sensitive to flicker than most. Which I put down to nystagmus.

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Re: Smart?

You probably need the more expensive dimmer switch as well.

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Intelligence in the bulb?

I know we all love a good snipe at IoT, but isn't the reason the intelligence (for want of a better word) is in the bulb is that it is the best way to keep the average luser away from sparky wires? Plug in light bulb, job (almost) done.

All the other suggestions such as smart wiring, smart switches, smart ceiling roses require some change to the physical infrastructure.

For similar reasons, WiFi is much more common in the home than wired Ethernet even though the technically minded usually prefer wires. Man comes and plugs in magic box, job done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Intelligence in the reader

"smart switches, smart ceiling roses require some change to the physical infrastructure

Do they?

What changes to the physical infrastructure does something like a Belkin (yeah, I know) WeMo Switch require? Various equivalents are available at different prices for differetn countries and with different badges. E.g.

http://www.belkin.com/uk/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation/

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Re: Intelligence in the reader

The switch and the dimmer do. For a light that isn't plugged into a wall socket (which is over half the lighting in my house) you're working with the physical wiring.

The problem with a smart bulb in those installations is that if someone turns off the switch, no matter how smart the bulb is, it will not turn on from the app.

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Calling it a bit early, El Reg?

"It took far too long to get here but the smart home may have finally become a reality"

I think that may be a little early to make that call - what we have here is the ability to illuminate all of the other IoT gadgets that aren't working.

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FAIL

"The end result is multiple ways to access the system – which fits what consumers really want."

No, we just want the fucking light to go on when we want and off when we want!

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Coat

To sum up...

Using only the words from this piece of trash we can sum up nicely as:

Setting aside the issue of whether you actually need or want a smart app-controlled lightbulb, here's a light bulb from Ikea. It is still some way from perfect. As well as stunningly poor security, it still requires a special Ikea Trådfri hub. Z-Wave products and SOME Apple HomeKit functions are still not going to work with it. No one is going to want to have to buy new networking equipment, on top of a firmware update, just to install some lightbulbs. None have yet to become a proper consumer device that you can set up and rely on to simply work with whatever system you already have.

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Taken a while?

This is supposed to be a breakthrough because it allows us to mix and match products?

I'd say you should take another look at Samsung SmartThings. The hub has radios for both Z-Wave and Zigbee and can work with Hue (and I daresay Ikea, if not now then soon). It's not the only general purpose hub that can tie together different products and protocols, and it's been around at least a couple of years now.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Taken a while?

Kieren's point is that lightbulbs made by popular manufacturer A work with lightbulbs by popular manufacturer B - it's interoperability between competing devices, not competing hubs.

C.

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