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Taking a closer look at GE's Bluetooth smart light switches

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GE? Bluetooth? light switch? smart lighting? cloud?

Smart lighting is generally used in various commercial and industrial applications. These days, there a number of solutions that offer over-the-top features that a full-blown smart lighting system can provide. So for many of us, systems like GE's latest family of Bluetooth-based lighting controls may be a sensible alternative. Although this cloud-enabled "semi-intelligent" lighting control system has a limited feature set, its simplicity, scalability and well-designed user interface make it one of the first products I've tested that is worth considering.

At present, GE's ecosystem of Bluetooth-enabled Smart Control products (manufactured by Jasco under GE license) consists of a basic wireless switch module ($39.99), a wireless dimmer module ($44.99), an outdoor-rated wireless switch ($44.99) and a series of wireless wall switches ($29.99 - $44.99). The plug-in lighting controllers I tested work a lot like old-fashioned mechanical lighting timers, except that they provide direct and simple scheduling and control of lighting from your smartphone or tablet.

GE's Bluetooth-based lighting controls

GE's Bluetooth-based lighting controls offer simplicity, scalability and a well-designed user interface.

As part of my hands-on evaluation of GE's Bluetooth-powered Smart Switches, I used one of them to automate my living room lighting. Contrary to some prior experiences I've had, I found it remarkably easy to set up, programme and use.

For my evaluation, I chose to put several of the lamps in my living room on a single Smart Switch and create a lighting schedule for them. This was surprisingly easy to do using Avi-on's "app-cloud-firmware-module and support solution" developed by Avi-on labs. The app I downloaded onto my phone connected me to the Smart Switch I'd plugged in and to Avi-on's cloud-based service. Doing this allowed me to "claim" the device and associate it with my local lighting network. With the initial set-up complete, I tested the app's grouping capability by adding a Smart Dimmer module to the network.

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