Eaton offers Wi-Fi Alexa-compatible smart dimmers and AC receptacles

Sept. 21, 2020
While Eaton sold Cooper to Signify, the energy-focused company remains in the LED lighting game with wireless capable control and switching products.

Eaton has announced a new portfolio of residentially-targeted wireless-enabled dimmers and switches for lighting control and smart receptacles that can switch any typical residential power load. The products support programmatic control of solid-state lighting (SSL) over a Wi-Fi wireless link. Moreover, the products are compatible with the Amazon Alexa smart hubs and can respond to voice commands.

And yes, you read the first sentence of this news story correctly. It is power-management focused Eaton that announced the wireless lighting-control products and not the LED-lighting-focused Cooper Lighting that Eaton announced it was selling to Signify late last year. That deal closed earlier this year with Cooper for now operating independent from Signify from a marketing and customer perspective.

We must admit that the announcement confused us for a moment. The press release had a dateline of Peachtree City, GA where the Cooper business is based. Moreover, Eaton Lighting had announced a line of Alexa-compatible switches, dimmers, receptacles, and LED lighting products the Halo family the year before it said it would divest the lighting business unit.

Alas, although there are some similarities in the smart-control families, there is no shared heritage. While the new Eaton products are Wi-Fi based as we mentioned earlier, the Cooper Halo products are based on a Bluetooth Mesh wireless network.

We generally think of Eaton’s power business as commercially focused, but they do have consumer-facing products. The new products will be available through retailers in the US as well as electrical distributors and online sources.

Eaton said it chose to focus on Alexa compatibility because its research showed that around 70% of users of voice-enabled home hubs prefer the Amazon technology. “We designed our Wi-Fi smart devices in cooperation with Amazon in order to offer unbeatable setup and compatibility with the industry-leading smart home assistant, while making installation as easy as replacing existing wall switches or receptacles,” said Rebecca Bitter, associate product manager for the Commercial & Residential Distribution Solutions business unit at Eaton. “Eaton is bringing a new level of convenience in the home, enhancing opportunities for homeowners to save energy, feel more comfortable and secure, and see every room become more livable.”

The lighting-centric portfolio will join other Eaton home-automation products in areas such as security based on both Wi-Fi and Z-Wave Plus networks. The products can respond instantly to voice commands or can be configured for actions based on time and day or other triggers. “We look forward to continuing to build on our industry relationships and open platform integrations as we expand our Wi-Fi smart devices family and overall smart home portfolio,” said Bitter.

There are five different styles of dimmers in the family and several of those are available in multiple colors including white, light almond, ivory, gray, black, and brown. And the dual plug receptacles come in the same color choices.

Eaton stresses that ease of installation and use was a top priority in the development of the wireless products. In some cases, experienced contractors will handle installation, but for the do-it-yourself crowd, Eaton added an LED indicator to confirm that proper connections are made. Moreover, once installed, the wireless experience is intended to be plug and play. Eaton developers used Amazon’s Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) for the project. Once a product is connected to AC power, the homeowner can use the Alexa app to locate and customize each of the dimmers, switches, and receptacles. After that step is completed, basic voice commands are enabled.

You can watch an example of one of Eaton’s video tutorials on the Wi-Fi-based smart home connectivity products below.

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