This WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled smart bulb features plug-and-play functionality, doesn't require a central smart home hub, and is designed to last for "up to 50,000 hours."
One of the sticky points in the adoption of smart home accessories continues to be the relatively high price of each component, but one startup is offering a high-tech, yet low-priced, solution for smart lighting, in the form of a standalone smart LED lightbulb that will cost less than half of what its competitors are charging.
The Qube smart bulb, which is designed to fit in any standard lightbulb socket, could be well-positioned as an entry-level smart home device, as it doesn't require any additional hardware to operate (other than a device running the accompanying app), it has a unique Bluetooth-based "positional-based" automation function, and it offers a mind-boggling 16 million colors and an estimated 27-year life, all for just $19.
"We recognize that existing smart bulb solutions are too expensive for consumers to reap the full benefits of smart lighting -- especially because they need more than one or two bulbs to see results. With Qube, we have big plans to disrupt the smart bulb market by offering a truly affordable and smart light bulb to the masses." - Joo Siong, co-founder and VP of products for Qube
With Wi-Fi onboard the Qube, the device doesn't need a separate smart home hub, but instead connects directly through the home's WiFi router, which enables it to be controlled remotely through the app, whether you're across the room or across the country. This same WiFi connectivity also allows for multiple Qube units to communicate with each other, and the bulb's settings can be accessed through iOS, Apple Watch, Windows Phone, and Android apps, as well as the desktop/laptop OS X, Windows 10, and Linux platforms (through a web browser).
Here's the video pitch for the Qube bulbs:
One of the company's selling points, most of which seem like definite benefits, is a bit dubious, at least from where I'm sitting, simply because it comes off as a bit vague and with questionable usefulness. According to the company's press materials, the Qube helps you to "go green," by tracking usage patterns and enabling automation for turning off or dimming the lights when nobody is home, as well as featuring a scheduling system to turn lights on and off at specific times. Qube says that its device "analyzes your usage patterns to highlight possible energy saving measures to reduce your usage," helping its users "to eliminate unnecessary electrical waste and save on your electricity bill every month."
While some of the Qube features could allow users to lower their electricity consumption (and costs), there's no mention about the power draw of the bulb itself (the only claims are that it is rated for "up to 800 lumen" of brightness, or the equivalent of a 60W bulb), nor of the embedded energy from manufacturing the bulbs, so it's hard to say whether or not the net result of using the Qube is really "green." However, considering that the bulbs could last for almost three decades, that aspect, when added to the generally low power draw of LED bulbs, could be the real "green" factor in this product.
The company is currently running a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, where the Qube has attracted some $236,000 USD from backers, and quickly blown past the initial $50,000 goal. Backers can reserve one unit for a pledge of $19 (plus shipping), with delivery of the Qube bulbs estimated to be sometime in June of 2016.