A few weeks ago, GE announced a major shift, shutting down most of the financial wing of the company, which lead to their downfall and subsequent bail out during the financial crisis. Now a new deal between GE, chip maker Qualcomm, and Apple will angle GE towards advancements in emerging smart lighting market.
GE will also produce an LED device that will be compatible with HomeKit, Apple’s upcoming networked home platform, suggesting that the bulbs could be programmed to automatically change its brightness based on biometric data from users’ wearable devices.
Qualcomm will supply chips that can be installed in the lights, allowing allowing them to send and receive data. This technology could be used to beam ads into people’s phones while they move through a store. Designers are increasingly looking towards lightbulbs and light sockets as a painless way to integrate its connected technology into the infrastructure of the home as we’ve recently seen with motion trackers and projectors, so the partnership with Qualcomm appears to be a shrewd one.
Lighting giant Philips recently decided to shift away from LED components, selling the majority of their Lumileds business to Go Scale Capital. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the change could be due to the increasingly competitive nature of the industry. With Philips out of the components* game, and with the addition of their smart tech integration, GE could have the market cornered.
GE calls the “internet of things” the Industrial Internet, and hopes to continue to grow in that area as well. “LEDs plus software, it helps GE continue its Industrial Internet expansion and I think the lighting business has a big role in GE’s future because of that,” said Beth Comstock, the leader of GE Business Innovations told Reuters.
*In a previous version of this article we stated that Philips was “out of the [LED] game.” Though Philips are selling their LED components business, they are keeping their Lighting Solutions business.