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In Just 4 Years, LEDs Will Outnumber Traditional Lighting – That’s Just The Beginning For Smart Homes

Technology is allowing $15 LED bulbs to now sell for a few dollars, and traditional lighting can’t hold a candle to those capabilities. With a home’s average 45 light sockets, the evolution of lighting points to a bright future, writes GE Lighting CEO Bill Lacey.



It all started with a spark: a flash of genius that would fill the basic human desire to see and experience the world. More than 100 years after the invention of that first light bulb that same human desire remains, but today’s generation of lighting is as different from Edison’s first light bulbs as smartphones are from the first telephones.

At the heart of this transformation is the surge in LED adoption. By 2020, more than 50 percent of residential sockets will have migrated to LEDs. And contrary to what some may think: all LED lights are not created equal. Here are four ways smart lighting innovation will transform how we see the world:

  1. Less energy, lower costs

Advances in LED technology are enabling new capabilities and better performance while driving down costs. Just a few years ago, an LED bulb was $15. Today you can get a branded LED bulb that lasts for more than a decade and saves energy year-over-year for just $3. You can find LEDs in any size, shape or brightness needed for every room in your home, with the ability to self-dim, achieve instant brightness, emit better light quality and more.

  1. Continued innovation – think high definition

In this LED landscape, the spirit of invention and investment is stronger than ever. Scientists and engineers are fine-tuning things like color contrast and vibrancy to put things in even better light. Think: high definition for lighting. New shapes and sizes are being developed in line with consumer insights. We’re even reinventing how consumers shop the lighting aisle to make it super easy for them to identify which LEDs meet their needs. Innovation will continue to propel new advances.

  1. Connection points in every room

As LED adoption is surging, we are seeing another converging trend. The connected home space is also growing. Revenues in the connected home space will grow 50 percent by 2020 – and LEDs will enable that growth.

The average home has 45 lighting sockets, which makes lighting prime real estate for driving connection points in every room. Lighting also allows for smart technology to be housed in an affordable, compact package that can be used anywhere.

Remote home control system on a smart phone.

Smart bulbs are just the start to bring the future to light. Photo: Getty Images.

Today, smart bulbs are an excellent entry point into the connected home. Tomorrow, they will be the conduit to a responsive environment where lighting cannot only be customized for individual patterns and preferences based on who is home but connect with home security systems, audio streaming services and much, much more. Lighting will become just as much a part of the home electronics space as the lighting aisle.

  1. Smart and simple

Simplicity will be key to connected LED adoption. More features and abilities can’t come with more and more devices and steps to enable them. Lighting is a part of our daily fabric because it seamlessly delivers something we cannot live without and don’t notice — if it’s done correctly. That simplicity must carry over into smart lighting. That will mean greater partnerships and collaborations between lighting companies and tech and service partners.

The lighting category has reinvented itself for 100+ years, and vast innovation is still before us. The opportunities are big in a world where lighting not only still meets that basic human desire to see more of the world but also drives even greater opportunity. We’re truly only just at the beginning of bringing the future to light.

(Top image: Courtesy Getty Images.)

Bill Lacey is President and CEO of GE Lighting.

All views expressed are those of the author.

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