It may look like just a ceiling lamp, but it does so much more than simply light up your home. The aptly named Multifunctional Light will release in Japan in the first half of 2016, with international dates still to be set. So just what is a smart light and what does it do? Here’s a quick preview.
The light itself is pretty ingenious. It can be controlled remotely, has pressure sensing abilities, and comes with its own dedicated app. As a total fixture, it’s also pretty energy efficient. The whole thing uses between 42 and 53 watts for the light fixture, and an additional five watts for the control unit. It’s available in white or transparent, and the unobtrusive, rounded design is meant to blend seamlessly with most any decor.
That being said, this gadget is much more than a mere light. A unit that screws into the center has the capability to sense temperature, humidity, and luminance. It can also tell when you’re home, turn on your TV, control the AC, and play music through a WiFi radio. The temperature humidity sensors are used to control heating and cooling, while the bulb itself has an integrated microphone and speaker, allowing you to use it as an intercom system. If all that weren’t enough, there’s even an expansion slot for a microSD.
There’s no word yet on whether the integrated microphone allows you to voice control the light and its features, and no pricing information has been made available. Experience tells us, though, that price isn’t likely to stop early adopters from giving this home fixture a go.
But why would Sony want to produce this ultra impressive but not necessarily mass-appealing household fixture in the first place? What’s wrong with the good ol’ ceiling light? According to Sony, it’s less about the light itself and more about getting in on the smart home trend.
Products like Nest, Amazon Echo, LG’s SmartThinQ, NuBryte, and other multi-functional smart home tech pieces are gaining popularity, and Sony understandably wants to be an established name in smart home gadgets before they become a modern-day necessity. The light seems to be a major means to that end.
Particular consideration was given to where it could be installed and best control the room without disrupting the actual space. The ceiling was the answer, as it has few obstructions that might otherwise impact the ability of a smart home hub to do its job.
Operability with other smart home hubs is still a major question, and not just for Sony. Currently, there’s little in the way of getting any smart home gear to meaningfully interact with other products, let alone gear from multiple manufacturers. While the Multifunctional Light has yet to address these concerns, the market will have to correct for itself there at some point. Until then, if you’re looking for a single hub to control your home, the Multifunctional Light might just be it. We’ll see how Japan likes it and take it from there.