When BeON Home contacted me and asked me if I would like to test its new smart light bulbs, I did some real soul-searching. I know connected devices are the future — I saw the future — but it immediately sent some important questions swirling through my mind. How connected is too connected? Do I really need smart light bulbs in my house? What value could they possibly add to my home experience?
I had to answer these questions and others, and so I took delivery of BeON’s new smart bulb kit a few days later.
What exactly does a smart light bulb do? In the case of BeON, we’re not simply talking about Bluetooth-connected light bulbs that change colors as you swipe around a smartphone screen. These connected LED bulbs screw into any standard socket and serve a few purposes.
Yes, the BeON bulbs can be controlled by an app. But their main functions are found only when you put your smartphone away.
First, the BeON bulbs learn your usage patterns and enhance home security by emulating them when you’re away. This is an interesting take on home security that is a natural evolution of an ancient technology; readers old enough to remember those archaic timers you plug your lamps into when you go on vacation will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Burglars prefer to target empty homes, as we all know. When lights can be seen turning on and off throughout the day and evening, the hope is that potential home intrusions can be avoided.
Second, and most appealing to me, is a “smart” feature that has nothing to do with being connected. A smart module with battery power is seated in each BeON bulb, and it provides emergency backup power to your lights in the event of a power outage. In other words, using BeON bulbs instantly installs an emergency lighting system in your home, right inside your main light bulbs.
In fact, the BeON bulbs don’t even need to be plugged into a socket to power on.
“At BeON, we believe that as technology evolves it should become more intuitive. We should have more natural interaction with our tech, allowing us to go about our daily routines with ease,” BeON CEO Alexei Erchak said. “Today, we are excited to be shipping a solution that makes home protection accessible for anyone and improves the security and safety of your home with a practical, affordable and easy-to-use system. With BeON, you simply install the bulbs and live your life.”
The bad news is that this smart technology doesn’t come cheap. BeON’s Home Protection System goes on sale today in BeON’s online store for $199. The kit includes three bulbs with three smart modules, and an optional $10 monthly plan adds “unlimited new feature unlocks, cloud services such as multi-user support and backup, as well as a new free bulb and smart module upgrade each year.” Additional single bulbs can be purchased for $75 each.
I was skeptical going in, but there are aspects of BeON’s proposition that I ended up really liking. Having hands-off home protection that I never have to think about certainly fits the “smart” descriptor, and having light in a blackout without having to stub toes and dig through drawers for a flashlight is a big plus. The cost of entry is high, but certainly not as high as the deductible on your homeowner’s insurance — and $199 might be well worth it if these bulbs can save you a few headaches while letting you sleep easier on vacations.
These smart bulbs are smarter than you might think.