New company Noon Home officially launched on Thursday and simultaneously unveiled its Noon Smart Lighting System, after two years of raising funds and developing products in stealth mode.
The Noon Smart Lighting System blends ambient, task and accent lights to layer lighting, improve the way a room looks, according to the company. It consists of a Room Director switch and companion Extension Switches, which communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy technology.
The Room Director, which has a glass touchscreen OLED display, clips into the Noon Base at the light switch. It lets users adjust all a room’s lights once the system is installed, said company spokesperson Katie Camacho.
“You can control the Noon Lighting System at the switch, through the Noon app, or via voice with Amazon Alexa,” she told TechNewsWorld. The Noon app runs on iOS and Android smartphones.
The Noon Smart Lighting System reads electrical currents and uses advanced algorithms to automatically detect and identify the type of bulb and fixture being used.
“The bulb learning capability is unique, and a nice differentiator,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
The system is compatible with virtually any residential bulb, including dimmable and non-dimmable bulbs, incandescents, LED, CFL, fluorescent, ELV (electronic low voltage) and MLV (magnetic low voltage).
The system combines information about the bulb type with data about the fixture and room type to create light in three modes: Relax, Everyday and Bright.
Customers can use the Noon app to customize lighting. Their choices are updated automatically at the extension switch, Camacho said.
Noon’s Room Director has a motion sensor that turns on a night light when a person enters its vicinity. Vacation Mode learns users’ patterns over the first week and refreshes the data every few weeks. This data is sent over end-to-end encrypted communications to Noon’s servers.
The learned patterns can be set to play when the residents of the home are away.
“We never sell your data without authorization,” Camacho said. “Your data is your data. We only use it to benefit you.”
Pros and Cons
“Having a dedicated controller will be more consumer-friendly,” said Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.
“Even though the controller is actually in addition to the light switches, it still has a light-switchy ambience that makes it more comfortable to use,” he told TechNewsWorld. “People like light switches — they’re obvious.”
On the other hand, “the hardware controller approach isn’t well received, because you need one for every room,” Enderle told TechNewsWorld.
“Amazon Alexa support will alleviate this somewhat,” Enderle noted, “but generally a dedicated controller is a nonstarter for now — though it is easier to set up.”
Another issue is that “Bluetooth doesn’t penetrate walls very well, making multiroom solutions problematic,” he said.
Pricing and Availability
Noon Home products are available now from the company’s website. They will be available at selected Best Buy stores starting Nov. 2. They will be available at select B8ta and Home Depot locations starting Nov. 15, Camacho said.
The Noon Smart Lighting Starter Kit, which consists of one Room Director Switch, two Extension Switches and three Noon Wall Plates, retails for US$400.
The Noon Room Director Switch and Extension switch also are available separately, at $200 and $100 respectively.
Professional installation nationwide is offered through Noon partner InstallerNet. The usual price will be $150 for up to three switches and $20 for each additional switch, but Noon is offering discounted professional installation at $49.99 for a limited time. Consumers can schedule professional installation at the Noon Home website.
“Rewiring light switches has been a problem … and messing with them is something the average homeowner isn’t well skilled to do,” Enderle pointed out.
“I’ve installed a few similar systems and have been shocked so many times I get sweaty just thinking about it,” he quipped.
However, demand for the Noon Home system may be limited.
“This is a high-end function, and many people won’t want it because they won’t perceive a need,” Frost’s Jude said. “Add a hefty price tag, and this limits it to a niche market — well-heeled technophiles.”