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Controlling LED lights with your smartphone

Controlling LED lights with your smartphone

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For those of us slightly too lazy to get out of bed to turn the lights off, help may soon be at hand.

For those of us slightly too lazy to get out of bed to turn the lights off, help may soon be at hand.

Many of us, although few may admit it, keep our mobile phones within arm's reach when we retire for the night -- to my shame, I have been known for keeping it next to my pillow. But what if it can serve more purpose than simply being your alarm clock, and also become your light-switch operator?

Launched this week by California-based Insteon, a new 8-watt LED bulb which can be network- connected and remotely controlled by a mobile device is the first of its kind in the world, according to the company.

Designed to be energy efficient, the $29.99 LED bulb is dimmable, and has been developed in order to retain more energy than standard 60-watt incandescent models, using eight watts of power.

Joe Dada, CEO of Insteon said:

"For years, home automation has controlled light fixtures with plug-in lamp modules, wire-in switches, and keypads. But, until now, no one has controlled the bulb itself. It's exciting to be the first to introduce a new product to the world."

Compatible on both iOS and Android systems, the new bulb can be controlled by mobile devices including phones or tablets. However, here's the sting: you need to purchase the $99 Insteon SmartLinc Controller if you want to connect up a device and your household lighting.

After installing a free application, different settings allow a user to switch between different fixtures. Once devices are connected, a unique IP is assigned to the bulb or light fitting. Rather than having to synchronize each bulb again if the location changes, this means any new fitting will automatically be controllable by a mobile device user.

Insteon has not stipulated how long each bulb lasts, but an average LED bulb generally can keep going for 15 to 20 years.

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure