Most people have heard of the American firm GE (General Electric), but they may not be aware that GE is a leader in the new smart home industry for their LED light bulbs. This mega successful firm was founded over a hundred years ago in 1892 by combining the Thomson-Houston Electric Company with the Edison General Electric Company.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average first listed 12 companies on their exchange and GE was part of that prestigious group and is the only one that is still in business. This firm continually innovates, spots trends early and develops new products that meet the needs of each generation of consumers. They make thousands of products for the healthcare, home, aeronautics, and several other industries.
Strangely, the product we are going to tell you about today is one that takes the company full circle. When GE first started out, they focused mostly on lighting. At the time, electric lighting was very new and GE was instrumental in developing production techniques that bought the costs down to a level which made this new technology sufficiently affordable for the masses.
Below, we take an in-depth look at GE’s latest lighting product. It is one of the new generations of smart light bulbs, which are proving to be so popular with homeowners across the world, to make their homes more comfortable and secure.
The GE Smart LED light bulb
You can buy the starter kit that is available, which consists of two bulbs and a basic hub – this sounds like a good idea, but, in reality, this kit is best avoided. From the reviews that we have read, the hub that is included in this kit is not reliable. Many users could not get it to work at all, even after they spoke to the GE helpdesk. However, the light bulbs themselves are great when paired with other hubs like Wink.
Compatibility with other home hubs
These bulbs are Wink app compatible and work well with the SmartThings hub. They use the Zigbee communication language, which means there are other hubs available that are compatible with these bulbs.
The company will also respond to questions about compatibility – it is best to contact them through their Amazon listing for these smart bulbs here.
How you use your bulbs to improve home security
The fact that you can pair these smart bulbs with hubs like the Amazon Echo means that you can control them using your voice.
You can turn these lights on and off from anywhere in the world. To do this, all you need to do is to connect them to your home hub and use the app they provide on your smartphone or tablet to control them.
Being able to do this makes it easy to make it look like you are at home, when you are in fact still at work or on holiday. If your home hub allows it, you can also set these lights up on a timer. For example, you can set them up to turn on when you normally wake up and switch off when you leave.
They can also be synced with other hub-connected devices to produce scenes. For example, if you have a Wink hub with a Ring video camera connected, you can potentially set things up so that your hall light comes on when the bell is rung. This makes it look like you are the other side of the door while you talk to the person at your door using your smartphone. They will never guess that you are talking to them from 30 miles away. Pretending to be at home is a great way of stopping potential thieves from scoping out your property and robbing you. If they think you are in, they will normally go elsewhere.
These light bulbs can also be dimmed remotely. This is great from a comfort point of view, and it gives you an extra way to convince people that you are at home, when you are in fact out.
Light quality, cost and lifespan
These bulbs generate a lovely bright light, so are great for reading or for someone who enjoys crafts. They are also good for a kitchen, where you need a good level of light to be able to see what you are doing. This version is a 60-watt equivalent bulb, which provides 800 lumens of soft white light.
In a home with average usage, each bulb should last 22.8 years. Using the average cost of electricity in the US (as of 2016), they cost around $1.45 to run per year, which is 80% less than it would cost if you were using standard light bulbs.
A couple of important points
These bulbs cannot be used outdoors. Therefore, if you are looking for terrace or porch lights then these bulbs are not a good option.
Dimensions wise, they are slightly wider across the top of the bulb than many of the other you can buy. Usually, this is not a problem, but if you are fitting them inside a lamp casing, there is a chance that there may not be enough space for your hands to allow you to screw in the bulb.
They provide a clean, bright light, which is great, but they do not dim as much as other bulbs do. For most people, this is not a big issue, but it is something to be aware of, especially if you are planning to fit them somewhere like a baby’s bedroom.
GE provides a good level of support for all of their products, including these smart bulbs. If you are running these bulbs through a home hub and are experiencing problems, it is always a good idea to disconnect everything and make sure that the firmware of your hub is up to date. Usually, doing that is enough to solve the problem, which will save you from wasting time on an unnecessary phone call to their support staff.
Get your own GE Smart Light Bulb here.