Connected LED or "smart" light bulbs may still be a developing market concept, with shipments totaling fewer than 2.5 million units in 2013, but a new ABI Research report reveals that a number of factors will help drive an increase in shipments.
The research firm said that the advent of declining LED prices and the emerging ZigBee Light Link standard being embraced by the largest lighting manufacturers such as Philips, GE and OSRAM mean that annual smart bulb shipments are set to increase to 223 million by 2020, achieving a total installed base of over 400 million.
"Because of the additional dimensions smart lighting brings to the consumer lifestyle, including lighting automation, and because of its carbon footprint efficiency, this industry will rapidly become one of the key technologies that could bring IoE closer to consumers," commented Malik Saadi, practice director at ABI Research.
During the six-year period, ABI forecast that 802.15.4-enabled light bulbs will become the dominant connectivity solution, taking a three-quarter share of the market. Although ZigBee will be a dominant part of the market, ABI said that it will face competition from a number of emerging alternatives, including 6LoWPAN based protocols such as Thread, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi--particularly mesh and low-power variants.
Smart LEDs will play a big role in helping lighting manufacturers maintain new sustainable revenues. As a result, smart LED revenues will rise to 30 percent of overall LED revenues by 2020. Despite their market potential, ABI said that high upfront and maintenance costs, longer replacement cycles, security and reliability concerns, advanced infrastructure requirements and fragmented connectivity standards could potentially hinder wide-spread adoption.
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