Speaker Bulbs: The New Tech That’s Redefining “Surround Sound” September 16, 2016 00:00

Have you ever committed to hosting a party with great music and atmosphere, only to realize you don’t have enough speakers or decorations to live up to expectations? What if you could ensure your hand-selected tunes would be heard in every corner of your home, and the only thing that could top the sound was a dazzling light show?

What if you could get both from just a lightbulb?

If you’ve been paying attention to the lighting world, you know that smart bulbs are the wave of the future. As Dan Ryan, co-founder of Bytelight, put it, “just as no one buys a smartphone based on its ability to make phone calls, future buyers of smart-lighting will not be buying lights for their ability to produce illumination… You will find lighting intersecting with adjacent industries like security, sensing, big-data, and even advertising.” Now, smart lighting has even drifted into the world of entertainment, letting you turn your home into a concert venue. But before we get to that…

A brief overview of smart lighting

In order to fully appreciate the benefits of adding smart lighting to your home, you need to fully understand what it is. In basic terms, it’s a way to refer to the host of technological improvements that’ve been made to the traditional lightbulb in recent years.

While the fluorescents and neons of the 20th century were certainly impressive at the time, it wasn’t until the discovery and development of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) that the public was really galvanized into replacing the traditional incandescent bulb. Besides a lifetime that lasted 25 times longer, the Department of Energy states that LEDs are six to seven times more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. What’s more, their price has gone down by 85% in the past 8 years.

While smart lighting fans certainly appreciate the energy savings their bulbs bring, most choose to install systems to add a dimension of convenience and entertainment to their homes. With the technology, you can program your lights to turn on automatically different times, and control the brightness and timing of each bulb from your mobile device.

Smart lighting, while once a novelty, has become commonplace in homes everywhere – and the technology is only becoming more popular.  Digital Journal reported that analysts at Technavio projected a 19.06% smart lighting market growth from 2016 to 2020, with Business Wire citing Research and Markets analysts predicting the total market value to be worth $21.6 billion by 2025. These figures aren’t surprising either once you hear about all the perks of a smart bulb, even in some cases doubling as a Bluetooth speaker.

Speaker Bulbs: The (Sound) Wave of the Future

Yes, you read that right: certain smart bulbs can even play your favorite tunes directly from the bulb itself. Here’s how it works:

Bluetooth technology has opened a vast range of possibilities when it comes to connecting devices over a small distance. Combined with a slew of innovations regarding hardware efficiency, power output and network sophistication, many companies have developed the manufacturing expertise to fit small speakers directly into a bulb, which seamlessly transmit audio from your smart device to a receiver nestled inside the light.

Now, as far as quality goes, the products on market cover the entire range of quality from studs to duds. Typically, the old adage follows as, for the most part, you get what you pay for. Only willing to shell out $10? You’re doomed to be let down with tinny, bass-less tunes coming from a boring bulb. Ante up a bit more though and you’ll be rocking out to sound quality from bulbs that rival a home speaker system, and double as strobe lights. Here are a few you can’t go wrong with:

Introducing the Flux Smart Blast

This particular smart bulb delivers powerful room-filling audio from a 3-Watt driver and connects to any Bluetooth capable device – be it tablet, phone or computer, to play music from Pandora, Spotify, or any other source you can think of.

The lighting itself emits a soft warm light at 3000K (here’s  a nifty lighting guide from Topbulb to for reference) and will typically last up to 20,000 hours. Boasting a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, this modestly priced bulb is an affordable $26 apiece and is worth every penny for the price conscious consumer.

Step It Up with the Flux Smart Melody

Those looking to invest a bit more in functionality should check out the Flux Smart Melody. This bulb adds several capabilities to the Blast framework, namely the ability to control to a remarkable degree of just what color light is emitted by the bulb. Though choosing only one out of a 64,000 color palette may seem a daunting task, rest assured you can change hues and tones on a whim with a simple finger swipe in the app. Add the ability to dim and brighten at your leisure and you’re sure to find the perfect combination for any occasion or mood.

The most impressive feature of this bulb, though? Its colors actually pulse and change with the beat of your music. At $40 apiece they won’t break the bank either. Say goodbye to cheap bargain speakers and multi-colored Christmas lights for your next party, and hello to the Flux Smart Melody.

How Bluetooth Makes Speaker Bulbs Sing

The genius behind speaker bulbs, and smart lighting in general, is Bluetooth. The technology, according to Bluetooth themselves, “uses radio waves instead of wires or cables to connect to a phone or computer. A Bluetooth product, like a headset or watch, contains a tiny computer chip with a Bluetooth radio and software that makes it easy to connect.” For a more detailed breakdown, check out the official site’s Q&A.

Basically then, Bluetooth as a convenient and simple way to connect devices within a short range. Most modern day devices like smartphones and tablets come Bluetooth capable right out of the box and is purportedly built into billions of products around the world. Bluetooth capabilities have played a major role in the development of the Internet of Things (IoT for short) which is essentially the movement towards a more “connected” living, where everyday items both send and receive data to other sources.

Setting Up Your Bluetooth Speaker Bulbs

One of the perks of Bluetooth is the simple setup for capable devices and the Flux Smart bulbs are no exception. We’ve outlined a few basic steps for each bulb below so you can get right into playing your tunes from any light bulb socket you please.

The Flux Smart Blast

  1.     Screw the Flux Smart Blast bulb into any socket you want and flip the switch
  2.     Open your device’s Bluetooth settings and look for the ULIGHT device
  3.     Connect to ULIGHT from your device and start the music!

The Flux Smart Melody

  1.     Screw the Flux Smart Melody bulb into any socket you want and flip the switch
  2.     Open your device’s Bluetooth settings. Look for and connect to the BL_05 device
  3.     Open the JBSmartBulb app on your device and connect to BL_05. Now you’re connected and can jam to any song and color you want!

Your Turn

Do you have any speaker bulbs in your house? Would you consider using them now that you know more?

Let us know in the comments, then turn your home into a giant sound system with some of Flux Smart’s versatile, easy-to-use speaker bulbs.