It has been several years since I have participated in a GE Lighting demonstration. This week at CES, I had a private tour of their latest consumer products and was very impressed by their bold offering.
No Hub. No New App.
GE has a partnership with Google giving them certain strategic advantages. As an early adaptor, your humble editor has a huge mass of various hubs and wires hidden behind my credenza. It’s so bad the family is forbidden from ever touching anything back there for fear of disconnecting something and causing the world as we know to end. The beauty of the new C by GE is that, in most instances, no hub is required—and it uses the Google Home app, so I don’t have to go try to remember my App store password and download and learn a new app. During the demonstration, I screwed in their bulb which the Google Home app immediately recognized as it was already pre-paired. It was the simplest smart bulb I every installed.
GE is selling the world’s first “Made for Google” bulbs. They are available in many bulb types including the popular A-19 lamp that will easily fit in all of our lamps at home. I recall the days when so-called A lamps were flat and looked like weapons!
Another example of GE’s brilliance is their newly launched family of smart switches and sensors. Even when the switch is turned off, there is still power going to the bulbs—a very important feature in my household. I sit down in my easy chair and ask Alexa to turn on my living room lights only to discover that Mrs. Reid has turned off the wall switch and Alexa can’t turn on my lights. I have to actually get up from my chair and turn the lights on manually. It’s so 2018! GE solved this problem as their switch can manually be turned off and Hey Google will still energize the lights. Brilliant!
I asked these bright millennials if the GE switches were part of GE Wiring Devices. They were at a loss for words and eventually told me they were not aware of that division. I gave them a little fatherly lecture about the importance of knowing their company. After the meeting, I googled GE Wiring Devices and saw where it was sold to Pass and Seymour in 2003—so I am the one in need of the lecture.
In the 2ndquarter, Hey Google will be able to set the color of the lamps as well. I witnessed a fascinating demo of this future release. The C by GE lamp clocks in at a very strong 80 CRI and there is talk about offering the product line in Reveal, which will have a CRI in the 90s.
The team at GE reminded me several times that these bulbs are “Made for Google,” but are also compatible with Amazon Alexa as well as Apple’s Home Kit.
GE also displayed a fixture with beautiful warm and elegant filament bulbs. The most important feature of a filament bulb is the look. Filament bulbs can’t be cluttered with diodes and capacitors, and there is not enough room in the base to add electronics, so they are not smart. But when paired with GE’s newly launched switch they are very smart and I was able to use voice to turn them on and off, as well as dim.
GE has created an easy start kit, which paired one bulb with a Google’s mini. They can be purchased online at Walmart.com as well as at Target, Lowes, and Best Buy.
Historically GE has been the leader in Consumer lighting. It is refreshing to see them launching such bold technology. Welcome back!