LEDvance rolls out voice-controlled filament bulbs in Europe

July 6, 2018
Following a launch of the Apple Siri-compatible line under the Sylvania brand in the US, the German smart lighting company offers it under the Osram name elsewhere. Some people must be buying it.

Following a launch of the Apple Siri-compatible line under the Sylvania brand in the US, the German smart lighting company offers it under the Osram name elsewhere. Some people must be buying it.

This could go by the name one good niche deserves another: LEDvance, which is believed to be the only provider of voice-dimmable filament LED lamps that work with Apple gear, is now launching the concept in Europe, after having first rolled it out in North America early this year.

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Under its normal branding convention related to legal rights, Garching, Germany-based LEDvance is marketing the bulbs in Europe under the Osram name. It uses the Sylvania label in North America, where the 0–650-lm line earned it a 2018 LEDs Magazine Sapphire Award.

Users can command Apple’s Siri voice system to turn the filament lights on, off, brighten, and dim. While Siri can brighten and dim other brands of standard-style LED bulbs, LEDvance claims that no other vendor makes a Siri-dimmable filament LED lamp. Filament LEDs are generally considered more decorative. They mimic a retro incandescent look. Users can also use an app if they don’t wish to speak to their bulbs.

These filaments have ears, all three of them — the Classic, Globe and Edison. (Photo credit: LEDvance).

Whether there is a booming market for such a thing is another matter. LEDvance would not share North American sales figures with LEDs Magazine. But in the slowly-evolving world of smart home lighting, the voice-dimmable filament is a product that could help enthusiasts stay one step ahead of the Joneses. A LEDvance spokesperson said the bulbs “have been very popular,” without getting specific.

LEDvance is offering three bulb shapes — Classic, Globe, and Edison. All three use an E27 screw-in base (similar to an E26 in the US, but with an extra millimeter of diameter). Users can speak Siri commands to their standard Apple HomeKit hardware, which communicates with the lights via Bluetooth wireless.

LEDvance would not reveal pricing. The German Amazon website lists the filament bulb for €43.99, and other Amazon sites range up to around €59. The same bulb is listing for $34.99 on the US Amazon site, which is $3.00 than the $31.99 that LEDvance announced in the US when it introduced the product late last year, a month or two before making it available.

The three join LEDvance’s Smart+ line of smart home lighting products and mark an extension of LEDvance’s Apple HomeKit range. LEDvance began offering Siri-controlled Apple products last year, including standard LED bulbs and indoor LED strip lights.

The company has been offering the new filaments in Europe since June. It also plans to offer an outdoor Apple-compatible LED strip light in Europe beginning this month.

LEDvance said that in April it also added two outdoor luminaires which can be controlled by voice via ZigBee technology in Amazon’s Echo system.

Chinese-owned LEDvance purchased the bulb operations of Osram in July 2016, when LEDvance was owned by three Chinese companies. That initial consortium of owners gave way in April to one of the three, MLS, which now has 100% of the company. The other two previous owners, IDG Capital and Yiwu, became shareholders in MLS, but no longer directly own part of LEDvance.

MARK HALPERis a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.