Op-ed: A decade of smart lighting and a bright future

Ted Zhang Apr 19, 2022
Smart Home

Lighting is a modern-day convenience we take for granted. To state the obvious, lighting has a profound impact on our lives every day. From the traditional light bulb found in homes to traffic lights to the flashlight built-in to most mobile devices, artificial illumination forms help us make our way through and accomplish a variety of tasks.

While the light bulb has been around for about 150 years, it’s arguably in the past decade that we’ve witnessed an endless number of advancements, coinciding with the development of smart lighting innovation.

Today, more and more people are turning off their lights by simply saying, “Alexa, good night.” Device makers are coming up with an increasing number of ways to make their products more useful by enabling features that include millions of colors and whites, programming schedules and routines, easy dimming and brightening, and the ability to have your lights interact with other smart features like a home alarm system or your garage door opener. 

The future of smart lighting is … well, it’s bright. 

At Sengled, we see three primary drivers shaping the future of smart lighting: a) easier ways for customers to set up their devices; b) developing new customer experiences for every facet of our customer’s daily lives; and c) creating a world of ambient intelligence – where technology is there when you need it, and recedes into the background when you don’t.

Easier Device Setup

For all the advancements we read about in the news, it bears remembering that smart lighting is a relatively new industry. For instance, when we started Sengled in 2012, we were one of the first smart lighting companies in the market. 

We’ve accomplished many milestones along the way, and several of them have had to do with reducing customer reluctance when it comes to device setup. Our research – and customer feedback—have repeatedly told us that customers will engage with our products more if they can set up their devices in a manner that’s akin to “plug and play.” 

In 2014, we launched our hub-based Zigbee smart lighting line of products. Zigbee is unique because homeowners can connect up to 64 smart devices using this protocol.  Today, our Zigbee products remain the favorite of our more experienced users.

Fast forward to 2018, where we launched our Wi-Fi capability, which stands out as a great option for consumers new to smart lighting, because it can be installed and controlled using your smartphone and does not require a hub. 

Two years ago, we announced the Bluetooth Mesh line of products, which makes device setup as easy as plugging in your light bulb and then asking Alexa to find your new device. I would be amiss not to mention Frustration-Free Setup and Certified for Humans designation, both providing the ultimate experience when it comes to enabling an effortless setup.

Finally, later this year, after working closely with the Amazon Alexa team, we’ll begin offering lighting products compatible with Matter, the latest connectivity protocol, serving to help simplify the ever-growing ecosystem of smart products. 

Smart lighting should adapt to a variety of customer experiences


Enabling experiences that touch every facet of our customer’s lives


At Sengled, we believe in the democratization of smart lighting. Our focus is on providing new high-quality customer experiences, expanding the functionality of what our devices can do, and providing ever-increasing value after product purchase. We believe this will make smart lighting every bit as ubiquitous as Amazon Echo devices. 

Our focus has always been on coming up with ways, in which our lighting products can enhance different facets of our customers’ day-to-day lives. For example, ultra-bright lights are a great option to someone for task lighting while chopping vegetables for a dinner party. Voice control with Alexa is extremely helpful when your hands are messy while cooking. Once it’s time to eat, ambiance-setting hues can make your kitchen look beautiful with CRI 90 true colors.

In a similar vein, we drew inspiration from how people watch TV in developing Sengled’s segmented LED TV light strips. They can be connected via Wi-Fi and mounted to the back of your TV or monitor. The built-in microphone syncs the lighting with the audio in real-time greatly enhancing the viewing experience.  We also announced a new TV light strip at CES that syncs lighting to the TV video, so watch for that in time for the holidays.

Leveraging partner innovations is key to helping customers make our lighting a part of their lives. For example, we also leverage Alexa Routines  which allows customers to program Alexa to automatically turn on smart lights in the morning, while returning home from work, and dim the lights at a particular hour every night.

The future of ambient computing

The home is increasingly becoming a non-homogeneous environment, with customers purchasing smart devices from different vendors. With Matter, consumers will benefit by being able to simultaneously operate products from different brands. The Matter announcement is a good example of a trend that we see shaping the future world of ambient computing, where devices in a customer’s home work seamlessly alongside each other, jumping in to help when needed and receding into the background at other times. 

Our 10th CES Innovation Award earlier this year for a smart health monitoring light bulb is a good example of how we see technology being helpful at the most relevant moments in time. The prototype, which should be on the market in less than twelve months combines a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Mesh dual chip, Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar, and a Sengled proprietary AI algorithm. Customer benefits include sleep tracking, biometric measurements such as heart rate and body temperature, and the ability to detect if someone has fallen – in the latter case, the device can place a call for help.

Developing more intuitive products will also be critical to enabling this world of ambient computing. While smart technology, including lighting, provides consumer convenience, a majority of interactions still requires action or input from the user. This will change in the future as machine learning and AI tech become even more advanced, enabled by more powerful edge processing devices.

For example, if your bulbs could sense that you get out of bed at night when your baby is crying, and determine this is a routine reaction, your hallway and kitchen lights automatically turn on when that sound is detected to help light your way to getting a bottle. 

As Sengled embarks on its second decade of smart lighting, the possibilities are endless, and we’re excited for the next ten years as we continue to push the bounds of technology, and ensure that we’re always focused on bettering the lives of our customers.  

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