Got a bright idea? Qualcomm’s new platform helps connect smart bulbs to other devices

qualcomm and lifx launch smart lighting platform lcm v4t image 002
When it comes to smart-home products, smart lights are, well, hogging the spotlight. It’s no wonder; they can be programmed to do a bunch of tasks, including blinking or changing color when you get a calendar alert, intruders try to break in, or a new TV show gets eerie.

But as more and more smart devices flood the market, consumers want gadgets that are less specialized and instead sync with everything, including the kitchen sink.

Before, this meant that a company that specialized in small appliances might not be able to get everything it wanted out of its new smart device, because coordinating with a separate company to incorporate lighting technology proved too difficult. Qualcomm and LIFX are trying to change that. The companies got together to build a new turnkey smart lighting platform, enabling companies or individuals — anyone interested in connected lighting — to put the technology in their devices more easily.

There are two parts to the Wi-Fi-based solution. The first is the hardware: The Lighting Connectivity Module (LCM) is small and self-contained. Havells Sylvania, a company that’s been in the lighting business for over a century, integrated the technology to turn its ordinary light bulbs into smart ones. Other manufacturers can use a standard LED bulb design instead of reinventing it on their own.

Open-source software allows the light bulbs to operate with other devices on the AllJoyn network. Leveraging the AllSeen Alliance’s Lighting Service Framework (LSF), a company such as D-Link, known for routers more than lighting, can ensure all its new smart devices are compatible with the smart bulbs, no matter who’s putting them out.

“There are no other devices that you have in every room in your home,” says Amir Panush, Qualcomm’s Director Product Management, of lights. That ubiquity makes them attractive to many in the smart home market, but the lighting industry has long been heavily regulated, says Panush. That shouldn’t bar anyone from harnessing this technology, he adds. “Our goal is to allow anybody access, whether it’s a large company or a small company or an individual tinkering in their garage.”

That’s one less thing to hold back amateur inventors trying to Kickstart their inventions. Maybe it’s no coincidence that light bulbs are already associated with bright ideas.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Smart Home

With focus on interoperability, is Nevo Butler a smarter home hub?

Universal Electronics is the latest company getting into the smart home market, announcing at CES 2019 that it intends to market the Nevo Butler, a new smart home hub with onboard A.I. and voice control technology.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Smart Home

Want a smarter home? Ditch the keys with these great smart locks

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Smart Home

Thinking of buying an Instant Pot? Here's what you need to know

The Instant Pot is a powerful kitchen appliance that does everything from pressure cook to to slow cook to steam. Heck, you can even make yogurt in it. Here's all you need to know about the magic device.
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.
Smart Home

Busted: Facebook Portal gets 5-star reviews from company employees

It's fair to say that Facebook's Portal smart display received a tepid response at launch, so it was something of a surprise to see lots of glowing reviews of the device on Amazon. Turns out some were written by Facebook workers.
Smart Home

Idaho mother says her child’s light-up sippy cup exploded

After a mother filled a Nuby insulated light-up cup with milk, the cup allegedly exploded. The incident caused burns to the mother's hand and face and a stinging sensation in her lungs that required a trip to the hospital.
Smart Home

Project Alias is a ‘smart parasite’ that stops smart speakers from listening

Two designers chose to do something about nosy smart speakers. The result is Project Alias, a "smart parasite" that whispers nonsense to Google Home and Alexa until it hears a specific wake word.
Smart Home

DS3 Clean water-free swatches could be the future of cleaning products

DS3 Clean swatches were on display at CES 2019. The small swatches come in several types, including shampoo and toilet cleaner. They're great for travel, but their real impact is in how such supplies will be shipped and stored.
Smart Home

Amazon patents a technology to help Alexa fight fake voice attacks

Amazon filed a patent this month for a new technology that looks like it would help its digital assistant Alexa fight fake voice attacks that could potentially fool Alexa's biometric security protocols.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.
Smart Home

The Instant Pot Lux is a gateway drug into the pleasures of pressure cooking

The 3-quart Instant Pot Lux is one of the most affordable Instant Pots you can buy. Is it still a solid pressure cooker? Here are our thoughts on the Instant Pot Lux, a great IP baseline model.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!