March/April 2021 | Vol. 26 No. 2
by Bill Lacey, President & CEO, GE Lighting, a Savant company
Today, one out of every two homes contains some “smart”—also known as connected—device, and that number is growing at a steady pace. Users
adopt connected lighting faster than other devices such as security cameras and thermostats, but it represents fewer dollars in the home automation market.
If we flip the right switches, we can position lighting as a simple entry point for consumers to dip their toes into the growing “smart home” market and speed up the mass adoption of connected lighting technologies.
Early adopters have sped ahead. In addition to doorbells that act as cameras and thermostats for comfort, customers are drawn to connected lighting options representing the home’s newest gadgets.
The tragic COVID-19 epidemic bumped up the adoption of connected lighting as consumers spend more time in the safety of their own homes and are more focused than ever on maximizing their living spaces for both work and play.
Despite this, we are far from the tipping point to
the mass adoption of “smart” lighting. To make this happen, we must address three main barriers to grow the entire connected lighting pie’s size and the pieces our companies own within those systems.
Data shows that consumers believe smart lighting
products are too expensive, an assumption that can be easily mitigated
by developing technologies, such as hubless solutions, that lower costs and clearly explain our smart home technologies’ value proposition. There’s no shortage of use cases that we can leverage to demonstrate connected
lighting’s incredible value. For example,
the ability to schedule lights or use motion sensors can tell a compelling story about energy and cost savings.
Another looming challenge is the feeling of intimidation by smart products
reported by consumers. The latest lighting solutions
must be easy to install, set up, and operate. Simply put, the easier and more intuitive
we make the entire intelligent lighting experience for the consumer,
the faster we’ll see adoption
Finally, consumer concern about data privacy is a significant issue to tackle to maximize the connected
lighting space to its full potential.
Manufacturers of voice control devices are lauded for
helping make the smart home more convenient
and do an exceptional job of making that happen. However,
it has come with a price. They have also received media scrutiny for potentially putting
data privacy at risk, and that scares consumers.
It’s on all of us
to develop intelligent lighting technologies compatible with these devices and provide consumers
with the comfort
of knowing their privacy and data are protected. We can do it, and we already see connected
devices on the market
that protect private information.
“It’s on all of us to
develop intelligent lighting technologies compatible with these devices and provide consumers with the comfort of knowing
their privacy and data are protected.”
The potential for significant new growth
in the residential connected lighting space is tremendous and will eventually reach a tipping
point. Together we can
work to speed up the process by removing barriers
to entry that can benefit the entire lighting
Bill Lacey is a Board Member for the
Consumer Technology Association’s Board of Industry
Leaders and serves as Chairman
of the Lighting Systems Division for NEMA. ei