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Get Ready for Voice-Enabled Lights; GE is ‘First’ with Alexa Inside

New C by GE lamp has Alexa Voice Services built in for voice-controlled home automation, but it would be cooler if it was a smart bulb instead.

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C by GE is coming out with a funky-looking lamp with Alexa Voice Services (AVS) built in. So it’s like an Amazon Echo but it has smart lighting on board. You can use your voice to control the lighting itself, or perform any other home automation or audio feats you can do with Alexa.

It’s a nice product. GE is touting it as the “first announced integration of Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) built directly inside a lighting product,” but we don’t have a price or a ship date (Q2 2017) or even a final design, so is it really the first?

In any case, expect a ton of these types of things at CES 2017. Several companies have announced new products with AVS inside – no Amazon Echo device required.

CES exhibitors touting AVS-native technology include Nucleus (video intercoms), Invoxia (Triby portable speaker) and Pebble (Corewatch) will showcase AVS-enabled products. So too will Ford Motor Co. and LG with its SmartThinQ hub.

Now what I was really hoping for from GE was an Alexa-ready bulb with the mic and speaker built in. I asked Sengled if they would be incorporating AVS into their speaker/mic bulbs, and they said … in due course, but not for CES.

In any case, GE is building out a full line of smart lighting products, including Bluetooth (BLE)-enabled C-Life and C-Sleep bulbs with tunable white color temperatures.

RelatedSengled Puts Voice-Controlled Home Automation in a Smart Bulb

The C by GE press release is below.

GE Integrates Amazon Alexa Inside Sleek Table Lamp as First Step in Unleashing the Ultimate Living Experience

As part of its C by GE brand, GE creates entry point to the smart home through simple connection points that enable homeowners to do more and be better
Connected roadmap starts with the industry's first announced integration of Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) built directly inside a lighting product
A sleekly designed LED table lamp lets you easily complete hundreds of hands-free voice commands, no stand-alone Echo unit, hub or smart phone required 

Cleveland – December 7, 2016 – GE is working to unleash the ultimate living experience through a suite of connected products designed to make your life simpler and help you do more. First on that journey is a contemporary LED table lamp that embeds Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) directly inside, allowing you to use a light to order your dinner, listen to the latest headlines, preheat your oven or give a host of other voice commands.   

The voice controlled light source with microphones and a speaker is the first announced use of AVS embedded within a lighting product, bringing the skills you'd find in a traditional Amazon Echo product without the need for a stand-alone Echo unit, hub or even a smart phone. Homeowners need only plug in the C by GE lamp and connect to Alexa to unleash a whole new world of tech functionality and smart device interoperability throughout the home.

“This integration is so much more than connecting lighting to voice integration,” says Jeff Patton, General Manager Connected Home Products, GE Lighting. “It's really about simplifying and extending an experience for consumers, allowing them to add smart capabilities throughout the home through a really simple form factor Consumers don't need a cell phone, a special switch or a hub. They just need their voice.”   

The company is incubating a suite of connected products, through GE Lighting's C by GE brand, and working with ecosystem partners to create a seamless connected experience that elevates what you can do at home, helping you free up time, add security, enable broader control and have fun doing it.   

The connected home market is expected to grow threefold over the next few years, and consumers expect a seamless experience as part of that process. This introduction springboards that by leveraging something ubiquitous in the home today-lighting.     

“We're excited to work with GE Lighting to bring Alexa to their LED lamp and enable new types of voice experiences,” said Aaron Brown, Director of Alexa. “Voice is the future of home automation and the combination of Alexa with the GE LED table lamp, provides people with a simple and frictionless way to interact with their homes.”    

To propel the connected home experience, GE is not only relying on inventors within its own walls, but drawing inspiration from companies like Amazon, real-world homeowners it's learning from and incubating with everyday inventors. The Alexa-enabled GE lamp drew inspiration from GE Lighting's real-world living labs, whereby the company tests lighting and connected home features and functionality with real-world consumers to learn and iterate based on their feedback.                       

The concept also was influenced by a recent crowdsourcing challenge where GE, MAKER MEDIA and Hackster partnered to solicit makers, from college students to data scientists, to bring LEDs to life in new and unexpected ways. The winning ideas, which will be considered as part of future connected lighting designs, included lighting that notifies you when you are sitting idle for too long and encourages you to get moving; lighting-based motion detection that syncs with security services; a lit crib mobile that detects a baby's heart rate and oxygen levels to protect against SIDS; and lighting that tracks activity in the home to know who is home and where they are to customize lighting based on an individual's preferences and habits.                        

The Alexa-embedded lamp will be designed in part by Richard Clarkson, famed designer of The Cloud, a cloud-shaped ceiling fixture that produces a motion-triggered lightning and thunder performance.    

GE's C by GE table lamp with Alexa will be available for pre-orders as part of GE's C by GE connected lighting products in early 2017 on www.CbyGE.com with product availability in the second quarter of 2017. To learn more about this latest innovation and sign up for notification when ordering opens, visit www.CbyGE.com/whatsnext.

About C by GE 

GE's C by GE brand unleashes the ultimate living experience through a suite of connected products that enable homeowners to do more and be better. Part of the GE Lighting portfolio, C by GE products build on the company's century of innovation, invention and imagination at work. Our deep understanding of the home and our expertise in the connectivity of things results in simple, connected designs to help people thrive.

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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