This fall is going to be an amazing time to be shopping for connected lights, as Samsung, GE, Philips Hue and others all have products in a wide range of prices hitting store shelves.
I’m super excited to see the GE light bulbs that are set to work with the Wink system and the Wink hub sold at Home Depot stores. One, the white lights are dimmable and only $15 a pop, which is about as much as a nicer non-connected LED costs. And now, according to Dave Zatz who follows the space, those bulbs might interface with a super fancy wall switch that includes a 4.3 inch touch screen.
The “switch” would include two actual programmable light switches next to a touch screen that control the other elements of your smart home on the wall. The product listing Zatz unearthed notes that the whole wall plate would have temperature, humidity, and proximity sensors as well as a microphone and speaker to act as an intercom.
Zatz scored his scoop from a cached Amazon listing that shows the specs and a $250 price tag, putting this switch at the high end of the current wall switch market. Most current connected wall switches range from $40 to $70 but don’t have touch screens. However, a new generation of connected switches are in the works, with the makers of the LIFX light bulb planning something that I’ve been told could be the “new UI for the internet of things,” to a long-anticipated product from Plum (formerly Ube) that most of its backers have given up hope on.
Even fancier options exist in higher-end systems like those from Control4 or Savant. And a few of the service provider systems also offer touch screens for controlling the system, although they usually aren’t integrated in with physical switches. The price tag is a bit much, and I am not sure I like the idea of a touch screen embedded on too many walls of my home, but this signals that the market is finally recognizing that while the smart phone has enabled the smart home, most people would like to put their device down every once in a while.