NetLED: Japan's cloud-based, smartphone-controlled lighting system

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Japanese citizens who are conscious about the environment and have more money than reason can look forward to the latest in lighting technology: the cloud-based NetLED system. Launching this upcoming February in the land of the rising sun, the system consists of 40W LED light tubes with a 40,000-hour lifespan and built-in Wi-Fi, which allows users to control them from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Lights can be controlled individually or in groups, they can be dimmed to 10 different levels, and can be turned on and off manually or with a timer function. In addition, the system also makes it possible to track energy usage per tube in real-time and to automatically aggregate data over an extended period of time.

The system's total cost will depend on how many lights are needed, of course, but even before purchasing any LED light tubes you'll need to shell out 60,000 yen (around $780) for a netLED router that serves as an intermediary between the intalled lights and the company's remote server. After that, each light tube is 19,800 yen (about $250) or 14,800 yen ($180 or so) for a "slave" WiFi-less tube.

Obviously the system is not intended for residential usage but rather large scale commercial or business environments. The company says that installing 200 NetLED lights can reduce power consumption over standard non-dimming LEDs by half, saving over 200,000 yen (around $2,500) in power costs per year.

For now the system can be controlled via a web browser or a free iPhone app, but Android and iPad versions are coming soon. After the initial setup costs the cloud-based service is provided free of charge.

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