There was a time when WiFi bulbs cost a pretty penny, but we’re finally seeing the price come down.
If you’re looking for an easy way to make your regular home into a smart home, WiFi bulbs can make it happen, allowing you to change one small aspect of your home, but making a big impact. With a few turns of a screw mount (or one more obvious one with a bayonet mount), you can turn a regular lightbulb into a fancy one, effectively making your phone into an “on” switch for your lighting.
It’s fairly quick, and requires a lightbulb, light fitting, and a WiFi network, but it can be much more. Together with an Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine, a lightbulb can be controlled not just with your voice, but stacked in steps and controlled in very specific ways.
Of course, to make this happen, you need that lightbulb, and it’s not your ordinary lightbulb. Not yet, anyway, because smart lightbulbs tend to carry a bit of a premium. That has certainly been the case for the few years they’ve been out, but it’s beginning to change, and smart lights are getting much more economical.
You can find them from all sorts of places, but they typically range between $30 and $90 depending on the model and brand you go for. That’s distinct from the regular $5 to $10 cost of a standard lightbulb, which means you’re paying a premium for the smart home.
This week that could change, as Australian brand Laser has decided to get the cost down, dropping smart lightbulbs down to $10 for a 10 watt white LED bulb, a type that offers cool white and warm white, but not the colour variations typically associated with smart lighting. For the colour variation, the price apparently sits at the $15 mark, with the range coming down in price alongside some of Laser’s other smart home range.
In the bulbs, Laser’s Connect Smart bulbs range between a 5 watt E14 bulb (ideal for IKEA light fittings), as well as a 10 watt B22 bayonet and E27 screw mount bulb, all sitting at $10 in stores.
Laser’s other smart home additions include a Smart WiFi plug with two USB ports for $18 and an indoor security camera for $39. Out of those, the plug may get your attention, as it has the ability to turn devices into a smart appliance provided they turn on at the power point.
Like the Laser Connect light bulbs, the Smart WiFi power point also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, meaning voice activated commands and scheduled routines are possible, and means you can mix and match with other devices. Typically, mixing and matching would require you to jump from app to app, controlling the devices using separate apps, but using a smart home ecosystem such as Alexa or Google Assistant will mean you can move past the app if you want to, once set up.
Laser’s smart home range is specific to Harvey Norman, however, and the only place you can expect to find them, thanks in part to a partnership between the two brands.
The range is available now, providing cost effective smart home products to more people. If anything, Laser’s $10 smart lights and $18 smart WiFi plug just might set a new battleground for smart devices to compete, and that can only be good news for consumers keen to save a buck in the long term.