The dream of a fully technology integrated and automated home can make a tech geek downright giddy: coffee machines that grind coffee and brew at a set hour, power sockets with built-in USB outlets, steaks cooked medium rare thanks to a Bluetooth thermometer. For every person who thinks a thermostat that learns personal temperature preferences is excessive, there's a tech geek who calls that cool.
Take the new LED bulb by Insteon. Released a couple of weeks ago, this bulb can be turned on, off or dimmed by remote control (included with bulb) or by iOS and Android apps. It's the next step in automating your home lighting: No special lamp attachments needed, no dimmer plates to attach to your wall. The bulb and remote communicate via radio frequency.
We tested the device and found installation to be simple. Hold down a button on the remote until it beeps, screw in the lightbulb, then wait for a confirmation double-beep from the remote and bulb. The setup worked the first time we tried. At $29.99, the Insteon bulb presents an easy, albeit limited, alternative to much more expensive home automation systems.