Lutron sheds light on CES 2020 and beyond

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Lutron Electronics Aurora light dimmer official honoree at CES 2020 Innovation Awards.
Image: Lutron

As CES 2020 quickly approaches next month, many are turning their attention to the newest tech trends and companies that will define next year…and the decade that is to come. For those taking bets, one sure shot is Lutron, a company that’s redefining lighting in both the commercial and residential sectors.

Let’s Set the Mood

Lutron’s history goes back decades. That ubiquitous rotary dimmer switch found in houses, apartments, and commercial buildings everywhere today? Yup, that’s from them.

This innovation changed the lighting industry as a whole. Up to this point, lighting was simply utilitarian, but now a new aesthetic appeal was born.

Lutron effectively opened a whole new landscape in lighting; soon, everyone had dimmers installed in living rooms, bedrooms, and other areas; and the now-common phrase was born: “Let me set the mood for us.” Yes, you can thank Lutron for all those perfect birthday shots, Christmas pics, and other “mood just right” photos.

After All These Years …

Flash forward decades later and Lutron is still at it with the innovative design. Now, they’ve paired the physical trappings of lighting with the new standard in homes and commercial buildings: Internet of Things (IoT).

Homes and offices controlled by smartphone apps are commonplace these days. Turning on the lights before the kids get home (or turning them off because, well, of course, they forget to turn them off) or setting the office lights to come on at specific times to start the workday is no longer the job of bulky timers. Now, one just has to open an app on a smartphone and controls are right there at the fingertip.

Innovation doesn’t stop here, as voice-controlled homes are all the rage these days. Alexa and Google are already in homes, cars, and everywhere else. Surely, more voice-controlled assistants will make their debut at this year’s CES.

But what about houses that are not specifically wired for IoT? It’s no secret that IoT is changing the landscape of cities, homes, and offices today. But what about yesterday? How can homes that are not quite up to date seize upon the beauty of IoT technology?

Enter Lutron’s Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer

Lutron has some answers, one of which CES 2020 awarded as an official honoree at next year’s innovation awards. The Aurora Always Ready smart bulb dimmer is brilliant in concept and minimalist in design (which, as all the cool kids know, is the rage these days).

Its function is simple: Older homes that want to catch the wave of IoT and wireless technology have a few options, one of which is the Philips Hue smart bulb. Homeowners simply screw the bulb into a light socket and voila! Now you have a wireless controlled smart bulb that can turn on, off, and even dim at your command…that is, until someone turns off the wall light switch.

Enter the Aurora. This physical device sits over the wall light switch, thus keeping it locked in the “on” position. Now, no one can walk by and inadvertently toggle the switch to “off” by accident, thus killing your connection to the wireless bulb (you know, because you were always yelling “turn off the lights!”).

In addition, this minimalist device also has a unique feature: voice command. Yes, you don’t even have to go through the motions of opening an app on your phone and pressing a button. That would be too much work.

Let’s Get a Little Technical

Lutron’s Aurora dimmer works with compatible bulbs utilizing Zigbee 3.0 or Zigbee Light Link technology (Philips Hue smart bulb will work just fine). The dimmer works as a standalone device, but is also Philips Hue bridge certified, making its application almost endless in that system.

The aforementioned minimalist design means the Aurora is wireless, running off of a simple CR2032 battery with an estimated 3-year life cycle (a low battery light indicator informs owners when to replace). One dimmer can control up to 12 bulbs without the need for a system bridge, and the dimmer also has a built-in LED light providing feedback and communication.

The Aurora runs on a 2.4GHz frequency. Built-in redundancies prevent it from interfering with other devices using similar radio frequencies. Ambient operating temps are between 50 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they’ve got you covered in multitudes of living conditions.

One thing to note: this dimmer is intended for inside use.

Check out the full specs here and see it in action below:

So, unless you like that aesthetic appeal of taping your light switch in the up position (because, you know, looks are all in the eye of the beholder), the Aurora switch might be the answer you’re looking for. After all, CES seems to think so.

Lighting the Path

Lutron’s lighting innovations have been the solution of choice for decades. As a new decade opens and IoT is further entrenched in the minds of cities and homeowners, their applications will continue to light the way for many.

If you’re at CES in January, make sure to stop by their booth at Murano 3304 and check out their innovative designs and solutions. As the Aurora is just one of many, remember that they have continued to design numerous other applications and solutions.

From smart dimmers to switches to fan controls, Lutron is unlocking the possibilities of tomorrow’s smart home today. Let them help you set the “mood” just right as a new decade opens.

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