Spark Devices just launched on Kickstarter and offers investors of $49 and above a free Spark Socket–the flagship product that connects standard light bulbs to the internet. Once a light bulb connects to the internet via the Spark Socket, consumers can control the light through an app (e.g. turn on and off, dim, monitor use, etc.). Additionally, Spark Devices has released Spark Devices API that allows developers to integrate light control into third party apps or websites.
The Spark Socket represents one product in the emerging “Smart Bulb” space. Tech giants and startups alike currently bet that consumers will soon demand greater control over light control. Terry McGowan, Technology Director for the American Lighting Association, explained the recent market disruption:
“The lighting industry has been the lighting industry for 130 years…. All of a sudden now what we’re seeing is the electronics industry take a look at the lighting industry and say, ‘hey, we’ve got some ideas’….It really has to do with making the light bulb more entertaining, more interesting, perhaps more functional”
The Spark API uses REST protocol. Developers can control and monitor lights and schedule actions over designated time periods (i.e. set a rising sun alarm clock over a 30 minute time span in the morning hours). Developers interested in the API can contact the Spark team through the API site.
A few practical applications pop up when thinking about controlling lights via API (make sure the lights were turned after leaving for vacation, control energy usage, etc.). However, widescale adoption might seem far fetched and the prime user base might seem a geeky group of hobbyists. However, a rather wealthy group of geeky hobbyists thought similarly about a PC a few decades ago.