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Australian startup LIFX light years ahead of big competitors at international innovation awards

Monday, 5 May 2014 | By Bronwen Clune
Australian light bulb “re-inventor” LIFX has taken out the top award for smart systems in the consumer goods category at the 2014 Edison Awards, beating its competitors and international brand powerhouse Philips Hue. The international awards honour the best in innovation and excellence in the development of new products and services.

LIFX debuted on crowdfunding site Kickstarter in September 2012 with backers pledging a total of $1.3 million in just six days. It raised an additional $2.1 million from investors.

 

Philips released its bulb two months after the public Kickstarter campaign.

 

LIFX head of marketing Simon Walker says the win was fantastic and proved its product was the best in market. The judgement for the award was made by a panel, but they had been kept in the dark (so to speak) as to who was on it.

 

Walker says the win proved LIFX superiority, particularly around two important differentiating factors.

 

Firstly, LIFX bulbs were much brighter, operating at 1000 lumens where the Philips’ bulbs were at 600 lumens.

 

“We made sure that our bulbs were shining at the same brightness as standard 75W bulbs, so that consumers who were used to that would not notice a huge difference,” Walker says.

 

The biggest advantage over the Philips’ bulb is ease of use, says Walker. Where Phillips’ bulbs require you to purchase a $200-$300 starter pack that includes a gateway and the need to set it up, LIFX bulbs just needed to be screwed in and the app installed on the iPhone.

 

“Our bulbs essentially have all the tech that is in the gateway, in the actual bulb,” Walker says.

 

Aside from tech advantages, Walker says the fact LIFX is a smaller company meant it could be much more agile when it comes to innovation.

 

The LIFX light bulb is not only multi-coloured, but can be controlled through any device with Wi-Fi and an app.

 

The bulbs can last up to 25 years. In addition to changing colours, there’s a sleep mode that dims your lights at night and brightens them in the morning, as well as a switch you control with your phone.