Smart Homes, Dumb Ideas

from the how-many-SMS-messages-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb dept

For years, we've been hearing about smart homes with additional sensors that will make your life easier. However, so far, the various ideas all seem... underwhelming. Stories of internet connected fridges go back at least a decade, and now we have a text messaging lightbulb that will send you an urgent message when your bulb blows out, in case you happened to not actually notice it when you turned on the light and nothing happened. It is a pretty pointless implementation, but you have to hope that it's one small step leading to something better. In other words, maybe it's just proof of concept, leading to more interesting implementations, that don't bother sending you an SMS when a bulb blows, but automatically switches on a different, nearby light instead, checks to see if you have extra bulbs and where they are, then, if you're low on bulbs finds the best deal on bulbs. Then again... it's just a light bulb. Stupid jokes aside, is it really that complicated to change a bulb?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    deviation, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 11:54am

    No Subject Given

    omg

     

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  2.  
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    Luke, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 12:33pm

    How to change a light bulb

    So how many smart light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?

    What would be better is a light bulb that is smart enough to not become a burn out...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 12:48pm

    The real value in this

    The real value in something like this isn't in the residential home market, it's in the commercial market. If you can have a light bulb in a large office complex email the maintenance department when it burns out, that's far more efficient than having someone walk around looking for said bulb, or waiting for a tenant to complain. Not to mention the liability of having a burnt-out bulb in the parking lot, resulting in a lawsuit over unsafe conditions when the tenant is mugged getting into his car.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 1:23pm

    Re: The real value in this

    Hotels -- guests are immediately annoyed by burned out bulbs.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 2:12pm

    No Subject Given

    No consumer wants this, but that's not the point. The value is to the company. If they can push this on us, they can sell us complicated, expensive lightbulbs for $5.00 apiece, at a vastly greater profit.
    Sooner or later, they'll come up with some dangerous flaw in normal, 50 cent lightbulbs, and get some congressman to push for a bill requiring 'safety' bulbs, which sell for ten times the price. But which may save your family's life...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 3:04pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    If no consumer wants this, then they won't sell any to us, will they? Unless they use their lobbyists to pass a law. In which case the technology is not the problem, the politician is. Any company selling a product will be richer with a law requiring us to have it, but that still isn't an issue with the technology itself.
    There is a market for this, just not in the home. We currently have HVAC systems in office buildings that send a message to the property manager if there is a problem. The lightbulb is just an extension of that.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 3:10pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    I should clarify the above. As a device for the home, it's pretty stupid. And I agree that the manufacturers would love to sell us $5 bulbs, and if given the opportunity would help pass a law to make that happen. So yeah, as a 'Smart Home' marketing thing, they should be ridiculed. Let's hope they don't have those lobbyists with a game plan.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 5:03pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    It's not just the light bulb. What if it were the house detects rain and closes the garage door and windows. Or if you get so many feet from the house and you left the stove or the iron on it will text message you alerting to the problem. Or you are late coming home and need to know what to buy at the grocery store your home can text message you whats in the fridge. Maybe your elderly, (joking aside) fallen and can't get to a phone. The house can call 911. There are lots of applications that could help out.

     

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  9.  
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    aNonMooseCowherd, Aug 18th, 2005 @ 9:38pm

    light bulb spam

    So your light bulb is going to start spamming you with discount coupons for new light bulbs?

     

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  10.  
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    eeyore, Aug 19th, 2005 @ 5:14am

    No Subject Given

    Forty years ago they were telling us that by the far-off year of 1980 everyone's house would have voice-activated doors and appliances and motion sensitive lights in all rooms. Of course we were all supposed to have hovercars and be colonizing Mars by then too. Just because technology can do something doesn't mean it will.

     

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  11.  
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    Peter Davidson, Aug 19th, 2005 @ 9:25am

    real consumer value

    Everyone is missing the real value here. If you have an elderly parent who is desperately trying to retain their independence living alone. Alert to a potential danger in the home is invaluable. A text message to a distant adult child leads to a call to a neighbor who can safely change Mom's basement stairway light bulb before a debilitating fall occurs when Mom tries to do it herself.

     

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  12.  
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    Pussy, Aug 19th, 2005 @ 9:49am

    Re: No Subject Given

    “If no consumer wants this, then they won't sell any to us, will they?”

    That is cute.

    Tell that to the guys at “Old Navy” or any of the other outlets selling ugly clothes that no one wanted.

    Have you ever heard of marketing?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2005 @ 1:57pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Pussy, you just proved the point. They weren't selling, they were TRYING to sell. And the clothes were unwanted, and unbought. So they didn't 'sell any to us', because we didn't want it (you didn't buy any of the ugly clothes, right?). The free market spoke. No law required me to buy the ugly clothes. And for those that did buy some ugly stuff, well that's the free market as well.
    You can market all you want, but that's no guarantee that anyone will buy (see the movie industry for plenty of examples).
    Unless you pass a law, which was the theory discussed in the post.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2005 @ 2:37pm

    Re: No Subject Given


    Ummmm….

    Have you seen the way shit flies out of “Old Navy?”

    They ARE selling. That is the point.

    Have you seen the ugly-ass clothes folks are wearing today?

    They are the most universally mocked and reviled fashions in all of human history - no one wanted them - ever - but the marketers said “these are great” and people bought what they previously mocked.

    People bought what they didn’t want.

    Sure, they had been convinced that they wanted it after all, but if a pudgy girl can be convinced that what she wants to do is pay extra to wear clothes that prominently display her gut and make her ass look even more cow like - what makes you think that people can’t be convinced that they want to pay more for a light bulb that sends them spam?

    Look in the comments - it is already happening - “It is safer” “It will reduce exposure to law suits…”

    People do not buy what they want, people buy what they are told they want.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2005 @ 9:05am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Then your point is that 'people are stupid', and I certainly can't argue with that. Too much evidence to date.
    I will have to point out that Fashion is a whole different animal. None of it makes any sense to begin with, when all we really need to do is cover our bodies for warmth or protection. But they didn't pass a law to get anyone to buy it, did they? I didn't buy that crap, and I assume you didn't either. It's the free market, to each his own. I mean, really, there's nothing I like more than seeing a spare tire on a 17 year old girl.
    Again, as a home market product, it makes little sense. But there is a legitimate place for it in the commercial world. These things already exist, with systems in buildings already using email to alert the staff of a problem. I get paged when a server thinks something is wrong with it. This keeps the users from screaming on Monday morning about the lack of email or whatever. Although I don't like having an inanimate object annoying me at midnight, it beats the alternative.
    A light bulb is no different. The discussion was about whether there was a market for this, or if a law would need to be passed to get us to buy it. I would contend that there is a commercial market for it, but they would have to pass a law to get me to buy one for my home.
    Absent a law, I think we can agree that mostly stupid people would buy this for the home.

     

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  16.  
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    ELAINE WALKER, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 4:25am

    Re: No Subject Given

    ALL I WANT IS A SMART LIGHT BULB THAT GOES OFF IF YOU FORGET TO FLIP THE SWITCH OFF. IF YOU HAVE SUCH A LIGHT BULB PLEASE CONTACT ME.

     

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  17.  
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    Dan O'Reilly, Jun 22nd, 2006 @ 9:49pm

    self extinguishing light bulbs

    After all this time I don't know if you need a reply to your Dec 2005 posting but here goes: "Smart Bulbs" that shut themselves off after either 10 minutes or 30 minutes were sold by Philips in the 1990's. Philips stopped making them since they didn't sell enough. Another company named Beacon sold a device that you could put in a lamp socket under the bulb that would do the same thing. I don't know if it is still made.

     

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  18.  
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    Kathy D, Nov 17th, 2007 @ 6:40am

    Re: self extinguishing light bulbs

    I bought one of those Philips Smart Bulbs in the early 90s to put in my son's closet. He was six or seven and never remembered to turn the light out. He's 23 now and the same light bulb is in his closet and still turns itself off after ten minutes. If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have bought dozens of them.

     

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  19.  
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    Vance Wing, Dec 30th, 2008 @ 10:54am

    Re: The real value in this

    Great point that I previously hadn't thought of. Appreciate your comments.

    VW

     

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