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Emberlight Turns Any Light Into a Smart Light

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 6 comments

Smart homes can help you save time and money in the long haul, but are very costly to set up. The various accessories and tools required to install security systems and monitoring systems can be a hassle. One company hopes to change that. Emberlight is a San Fransisco-based startup with a simple idea; create an attachment that can turn any lightbulb into a smart bulb.

The Emberlight attachment, being promoted via Kickstarter, is designed to add the smart function to any lightbulb. Installation is fairly simple.  The user screws in the attachment, adds the lightbulb, then syncs the attachment to the Emberlight phone app. Once installed, users can control their light via a smartphone app, a timer or even a proximity sensor. The Emberlight app keeps track of your location and can turn on the lights when you arrive home.

MORE: 15 Amazing Smart Home Gadgets

Emberlight has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities and works on a master/slave architecture. This means that once the Emberlight master unit is installed at home, all additional Emberlight work under it via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Through the Kickstarter campaign, the company hopes to raise $50,000. Backers can preorder one Emberlight attachment for $49, two for $89, three for $139, four for $169, six for $249, eight for $339 and 10 for $399. Backers can also pay $1,000 to become a beta tester and gain early access to Emberlight. The start-up expects to have all of its orders out by December 2014. 

Smart Lightbulbs have been on the market for a long time. However, they can be expensive and require you to replace the entire system along with the bulb. Emberlight provides a solid alternative that will let you replace the bulb while keeping the smart part intact.

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  • 7 Hide
    unksol , July 22, 2014 4:07 PM
    So I can pay (best case) $40 a bulb. To have the lights turn on when I walk in the room... IF I am carrying my smartphone. and have the bulbs stick an inch out of their fixtures due to the adapter....

    OR I could reach a whole foot to flick a switch when I walk in a room... and not need to carry my phone to turn on lights.... hmm hard call....
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , July 22, 2014 9:37 PM
    Overpriced, and a gimmick.

    Furthermore, it could fail at any time since they designed it around connecting to their servers for all of hits functions. This means if their servers goes down, then your product stops working. Given the track record of most kick starters and then failing or getting bought up by another company who then promptly ends their service. You could order the product and end up with the servers failing or getting shut down after a few months, leaving you with a paperweight.

    Another major risk s that you are allowing a device that you have no direct control over beyond the power, connect to your home network. You essentially have to trust that they did everything perfectly from a security standpoint, and not end up with the security issues of belkin wemo switches where an attacker could issue a fake firmware update, and essentially turn your device into something that will spy on your network and collect sensitive information.

    The hole cloud crap with these products, are simply to create an additional revenue stream such as with the skydog router where they took the classic 192.168.1.1 web ui page, and move it to a remote server, thus making your router dependent on their servers. They then in the fine print stated that control over your router is a subscription service, but before that could be fully realized, comcast bought them and will be ending the skydog cloud service thus the customers will be left with overpriced paperweights.

    A product like this is simply a short term cash grab where they will either try to use the cloud to make money by charging for something that the device should be doing on its own anyway (like with skydog), or they will kill the servers the moment sales drop, and thus it being no longer profitable to keep the servers running. The goal of a business is to make money, and dedicated hosting is very expensive. If sales can no longer exceed the expenses, then the operation stops and the business either goes under and all of the execs walk away with their share of the profits, or they find a new revenue stream while killing off the old systems. either way, there is no guarantee that users who purchase the item will even get a product that works (not due to a manufacturing flaw, but due to a shutdown of the servers).
  • 0 Hide
    Darkk , July 22, 2014 11:08 PM
    Quote:
    Overpriced, and a gimmick.

    Furthermore, it could fail at any time since they designed it around connecting to their servers for all of hits functions. This means if their servers goes down, then your product stops working.


    The best description I can tell you is called DRM. They control the devices so like you said if anything happens to them you're screwed.

    This has happened to me a few times when I bought some cool device only to have services deactivated due to lack of sales.

    It's a risk if you are willing to take but nothing lasts forever. So if you are afraid of the idea then stick to a regular light bulb.
  • Add your comment Display all 6 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    sharkyh20 , July 23, 2014 1:11 AM
    Turning lights on and off. Pah. Until they find a way to replicate skynet (and make my toaster aggressive with a touch of my smartphone like some vicious bread-wielding guard-dog) I don't have any interest in this at all.
  • 0 Hide
    cats_Paw , July 23, 2014 4:33 AM
    Not interested. I see no reason to be interested in fact.
  • 0 Hide
    vipboy28 , July 23, 2014 6:21 AM
    I feel this is more for security and safety, You go out of your home on a random day, you are out still and it becomes dark, you get your smart phone and turn your lights on. Not only will it deter anyone who may be watching the house but it could also help if you have your hands full with shopping bags or groceries.

    As a single person, this isnt such a bad idea IF you don't need their servers to make it work!
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