Electrical titan GE looks to revamp its lighting division with help from tech firms
The American industrial titan General Electric (GE) is looking to breathe new life into its century-old lighting business by signing up with Apple and Qualcomm for the creation of new smart lightbulbs.
This includes intelligent, colour-changing LED lighting compatible with Apple’s HomeKit development platform, alongside with Qualcomm Atheros technology which will help retailers monitor their customers’ habits and trends when in a store.
As ‘smart homes’ edge closer to becoming a common presence, GE’s new light bulbs look to help provide a more natural lighting cycle for occupants.
GE’s HomeKit-enabled LED bulb look to lessen the effect that artificial lights have on our sleep patterns by giving consumers the ability to automate lighting according to the body’s natural sleep circadian rhythm.
Using the company’s Align technology, the bulbs tunes the light spectrum to help promote the body’s natural sleep cycle by controlling the blue concentration of light output. In the morning, GE Align produces a bright, bluer tone that suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, and in the evening it produces an amber light, reminiscent of candlelight and campfires.
Customers can use their Apple devices to control and adjust settings, which also adds security and accessibility to those who might be unsure about introducing smart technology into the home.
“As we continue to grow our infrastructure business by connecting our brilliant industrial machines to the Internet, it is important that consumers experience connected things in easy-to-use, everyday ways,” said Beth Comstock, president and CEO of GE’s business innovations unit.
“Lighting is how many first experiment with the idea of a smart home, and our insights show that consumers want the ability to control lighting from anywhere, automate lighting and pair lighting with other devices—like sensors, thermostats and door locks. We’re excited to announce our support for HomeKit as it will bring a seamless, intuitive user experience using Siri and superior quality of light from America’s most trusted lighting brand for more than a century.”
The new bulbs will be available later this year.
GE is also teaming up with chipmaker and connected technology giant Qualcomm, which will implant its Atheros location-tracking technology into GE’s LED bulbs to create more personalised shopping experiences.
Atheros will creates a high-accuracy, real-time connection made up of unique pulse patterns to “talk” to shoppers’ smartphones and tablets, allowing retailers to combine contextual information with location to create new tools such as indoor navigation, infinite aisle, suggested items, product information, and special offers or coupons to those who opt in and download the retailer’s app.
This follows a recent Google study which found that consumers want more information and customised experiences during the shopping journey, and often turn to their smartphones for help in researching certain products.
“Today’s consumers want a customised experience—from the news they read, to the games they play, to the products they buy, they expect technology-driven personalisation,” said Jeff Bisberg, global general manager, Indoor Location, GE Lighting, who predicted that the technology could also soon be in airports, hotels, hospitals and many other environments where it is beneficial to know individuals’ locations.
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