Home Automation

A Spark of Genius.

Over the last few years there has been a steady growth in home automation, and smartphone connected solutions to help you control energy waste in your home. For the most part while innovative, they have been cost prohibitive. If I were to replace every lightbulb in my home with GE’s smart bulbs I would drop about 1800 bucks on them, and when the bulb goes in a few years I have to replace it.


This KickStarter solution from Scot Herbst is something that I can get behind because it turns any light socket in your house into a smartphone controlled one. The Spark Socket runs $59.00 dollars, is Wifi enabled, controlled by your smartphone, and allows you to manage the lighting in your home from anywhere in the world. Spark goes beyond simply turning lights on and off though. The smartphone app is designed to allow you program the lights to do thins like blink when you receive an email, or slowly fade up to function as a gentle alarm clock.

One thing that I love about this product though, is the practicality of the design itself. The fact that it removes the lightbulb from the solution is brilliant. (no pun intended) By removing the bulb, you open the door to using any lightbulb in any lamp for starters. Beyond that though, you open the door to any other kind of controller that can be screwed into the socket. This opens the door to a larger audience of devices that could be controlled by your phone from anywhere, at any time.

Philips and Apple Team Up To Make Your House Smarter and Brighter.

I really like the idea of using LED light bulbs in my house. I just wish they weren’t so expensive. What I might start doing is replacing them one at a time in order to keep the cost down, and make my house greener.

A few months back Philips introduced a new LED light that is now going to be carried exclusively in Apple stores around the world. The Philips Hue is a smart LED bulb that aims to shake up the home automation market by allowing the bulb to be controlled via a smartphone app that runs on iOS and Android.


With support for up to 50 bulbs, Philips Hue offers up to 80 percent less power than a traditional bulb, lasts up to 15 years, and changes color. The cost will set you back a bit though, with each bulb costing $59.00. When the bulbs go on sale tomorrow, you will be able to buy them in starter pack sets of 3 which includes  a bridge, that connects the bulbs to your wireless router and with each other using the open ZigBee Light Link standard. Once you have the bulbs connected, they link with the Hue smartphone and tablet apps.

Using the smartphone app, users can personalize their lighting settings, program times and utilize Philips “LightRecipes” to set the mood for your house or room at a specific time.