GE expands smart lighting system with new devices, Apple HomeKit integration
- GE Lighting is expanding its C by GE smart lighting portfolio with new products as well as compatibility with Apple HomeKit starting in the first quarter of 2018, the company announced in a press release.
- The brand's C-Life and C-Sleep bulbs, in conjunction with the recent release of a C-Reach bridge, will be able to be controlled by Apple's digital assistant, Siri, and will be accessible via Apple Home iPhone or iPad apps. C by GE is already compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
C by GE's new products include a connected ceiling fixture that lets users listen to music, perform voice-driven tasks or change a room's lighting without the need for a separate voice-activated device, and smart wall switches that allow users to control connected lights with their voice and preferred voice assistant. A separate GE hub is not required for use of the smart switches.
Consumers' adoption of connected devices in the home is growing quickly, and GE clearly wants to make its line of products accessible and customizable to a wider audience by bringing on more technology partners like Amazon, Google and now Apple. These companies are all likely eyeing brands like GE carefully, as expanded smart home offerings present more opportunities to bring their voice-activated digital assistants into households where the AI can learn from users' habits and accrue more customer data.
More than 80 million smart home devices, including thermostats, smoke detectors, smart locks and video doorbells, were delivered worldwide in 2016 — a 64% increase from 2015, according to IHS Markit research. Juniper Research predicts smart home automation and monitoring devices will grow to more than 770 million globally by 2021.
With its Apple HomeKit integration, GE Lighting joins other smart lighting solutions on the platform like LIFX and Ikea, which last year announced that some of its smart lights, switches and sensors would add HomeKit compatibility. GE Appliances also recently began selling air conditioners that respond to Alexa voice commands through a GE-developed skill named Geneva, where users can ask to set temperatures and fan speeds and get status reports.
Amazon Echo devices are the current leader in the smart speaker market and were predicted to account for 68% of all smart speakers by the end of 2017, Strategy Analytics data found. This has made Alexa an early favorite as marketers' interest in capabilities like voice search continues to ramp up. Apple has delayed the release of its HomePod smart speaker after failing to miss a holiday launch, and some view Siri as having fallen behind Google and Amazon's offerings despite being the first to see wide use thanks to the iPhone.