GE is moving towards what it calls the “ultimate living experience” through a suite of connected products designed to make your life simpler and help you do more. First on that journey is a contemporary LED table lamp that embeds Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) directly inside, allowing you to use a light to order your dinner, listen to the latest headlines, preheat your oven or give a host of other voice commands.
The voice controlled light source with microphones and a speaker is the first announced use of AVS embedded within a lighting product, bringing the skills you’d find in a traditional Amazon Echo product without the need for a stand-alone Echo unit, hub or even a smartphone. Homeowners need only plug in the C by GE lamp and connect to Alexa to unleash a whole new world of tech functionality and smart device interoperability throughout the home.
“This integration is so much more than connecting lighting to voice integration,” says Jeff Patton, General Manager Connected Home Products, GE Lighting. “It’s really about simplifying and extending an experience for consumers, allowing them to add smart capabilities throughout the home through a really simple form factor Consumers don’t need a cell phone, a special switch or a hub. They just need their voice.”
The company is incubating a suite of connected products, through GE Lighting’s C by GE brand. They are also working with ecosystem partners to create a seamless connected experience that elevates what you can do at home, helping you free up time, add security, enable broader control and have fun doing it.
The connected home market is expected to grow threefold over the next few years, and consumers expect a seamless experience as part of that process. This introduction springboards this evolution by leveraging something ubiquitous in the home today—lighting.
“We’re excited to work with GE Lighting to bring Alexa to their LED lamp and enable new types of voice experiences,” said Aaron Brown, Director of Alexa. “Voice is the future of home automation and the combination of Alexa with the GE LED table lamp, provides people with a simple and frictionless way to interact with their homes.”
To propel the connected home experience, GE is not only relying on inventors within its own walls, but drawing inspiration from companies like Amazon, real-world homeowners it’s learning from, and incubating with everyday inventors. The Alexa-enabled GE lamp drew inspiration from GE Lighting’s real-world living labs, whereby the company tests lighting and connected home features and functionality with real-world consumers to learn and iterate based on their feedback.
The concept also was influenced by a recent crowdsourcing challenge where GE, MAKER MEDIA and Hackster partnered to solicit makers, from college students to data scientists, to bring LEDs to life in new and unexpected ways. The winning ideas, which will be considered as part of future connected lighting designs, include lighting that notifies you when you are sitting idle for too long and encourages you to get moving; lighting-based motion detection that syncs with security services; a lit crib mobile that detects a baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels to protect against SIDS; and lighting that tracks activity in the home to know who is home and where they are to in order to customize lighting based on an individual’s preferences and habits.
The Alexa-embedded lamp will be designed in part by Richard Clarkson, famed designer of The Cloud, a cloud-shaped ceiling fixture that produces a motion-triggered lightning and thunder performance.
GE’s C by GE table lamp with Alexa will be available for pre-orders as part of GE’s C by GE connected lighting products in early 2017 on www.CbyGE.com with product availability in the second quarter of 2017. To learn more about this latest innovation and sign up for notification when ordering opens, visit www.CbyGE.com/whatsnext.
We think this is an interesting departure in how Amazon Alexa is integrated throughout the home. Our biggest concern (aside from having an ever present listening device and there goes ANY personal privacy) is the fact that to truly cover your entire home you would need to have an Echo or integrated echo device in every room of the house, not always practical nor cheap. That said, integrating the technology devices into single, multifunctional units such as furniture and accessory pieces like the C by GE table lamp is at least a step toward simplification.