The futuristic and luxurious “smart home” is anything but ubiquitous. Although the smart home continues to be a dream for most people, Apple has attempted to jump on the smart home revolution early with HomeKit. HomeKit was announced with the revelation of iOS 8. While other kits, such as HealthKit, sprung up more fanfare initially; we see other companies such as GE jumping on the HomeKit movement. With the help of HomeKit iOS software and hardware capabilities, GE plans to bring some modern sophistication into the average person’s home.
In case you might need a quick reminder, Apple describes HomeKit as “a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home. You can enable users to discover HomeKit accessories in their home and configure them, or you can create actions to control those devices. Users can group actions together and trigger them using Siri.”
Installing smart locks, smart blinds, or smart anything, can be an expensive and time-consuming investment. One of the simplest ways to embark on the smart home journey is the smart bulb. Smart bulbs have customarily mirrored functionality of traditional light bulbs. However, stepping into the future, GE has unveiled a smart bulb that speaks the iOS HomeKit language as well as doing something radically new: they are circadian rhythm friendly. This new smart bulb from GE could possibly change the quality of your life for the better by letting your body rest the way it always intended it to.
Circadian rhythm is the time frame our bodies are naturally inclined to adhere to in regards to waking up and falling asleep. Human bodies are intended to fall asleep at around 10 pm and wake up around 6 am. This is no longer the case due to modern electronics that emit light. These light emitting electronics, such as televisions and the common lamp, interfere with our melatonin production and inherently our circadian rhythm.
GE plans to solve this problem with their smart bulbs. These particular smart bulbs will change color depending on the time of the day, varying the amount of blue light emitted from bulbs, suppressing melatonin production within our bodies, thus making us feel more awake.
Conversely, GE bulbs will dim and to an orange hue at night, which falls below the melatonin production threshold. This lighting strategy will adhere to our bodies natural sleep cycle allowing smart bulb users to fall asleep and wake up at the appropriate times. All of this information ultimately means Align smart bulbs by GE will make us more energetic and productive the next day after achieving a quality night’s sleep.
GE helps visualize this phenomenon in the graph shown below.
Phillips will also produce a competing line of smart bulbs that will integrate with HomeKit and Apple Devices. Phillips’ smart bulbs will reportedly not feature the same circadian rhythm aligning technology as GE’s. They will offer different functionality including mood-altering colors.
We are still years away from the pervasive smart home of the future, however in 2015, expect to see many smart-advancements to common household items that could dramatically improve your life: even to something as simple as a light bulb.