Anyware or BeON – Which Smart Bulb is Best for Home Security?By - 06/28/2016
A smart lighting control system is the last thing I want to write a review about and not because they are useless, but because they’re boring. They enable you to control your lights remotely, dim them, or even change the hue of your lights, but almost all of them have nothing else to offer. ALMOST. There are a few that can do more than brighten up your home, like BeON and Anyware. Both products help to keep your home safe, but which one does it better?
Round 1: Smart Lighting Control
BeON is two devices in one. Of course, it has an LED bulb, which acts as a lightbulb, but it also has a smart module. The smart module plugs into the bulb, making the whole system smarter. It holds a battery that powers the bulb for around 5 hours during power failures and it can connect to your phone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), thus enabling smartphone control. In addition, multiple modules have the ability to work together to create a mesh network. With it, you can control all of your BeON bulbs even if your phone is only connected to one. One thing to note is that BeON doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi, so you can’t really switch your lights on or off when you’re away, but you can create schedules ahead of time and BeON will turn on or off according to your schedule.
Anyware is a smart lamp socket adaptor. It has two versions— one that fits E26 sockets and supports E12 LED bulbs (for US customers) and another that fits E27 sockets and supports E14 bulbs (for European customers). With Anyware, you screw the bulb into an adaptor and control it by tapping on your smartphone. The socket adaptor connects to your phone through Wi-Fi when you’re away to give you remote control. When you’re home, it connects via BLE, which allows you to control your lights even without an internet connection. The Anyware app lets you turn your lights on and off, dim your lights, and create schedules.
Anyware’s Wi-Fi capability gives it a win over BeON. It’s inevitable, you need remote smartphone control. For instance, what if you forget to turn your lights off after leaving and you do not have a preset schedule? Or what if your schedule changes and you need your lights turned on longer than you’ve set? Remote smartphone control is the answer.
Round 2: Home Security & Monitoring
BeON’s Smart Sound Sensor
BeON’s smart module boasts a smart sound sensor that can be taught to distinguish different sounds (e.g. smoke alarm, doorbell, siren). You can teach it by letting it listen to the sound and then inputting information about the sound via the mobile app. According to BeON, it only takes minutes. With this technology, it can tell you exactly what sounds it detects. On top of that, it can take action by turning your lights on, making it a good deterrent against would-be intruders who ring your doorbell to check if you’re home.
BeON also learns your lighting patterns and mimics them when you’re away to make it appear like you’re home. I should mention that BeON can’t tell whether you are home or away. You must set it to Away, but you’ll have to do it before you leave as it doesn’t have Wi-Fi.
Anyware is equipped with four sensors—sound, humidity, temperature, and ambient light.
The sound sensor can be used for a number of purposes. You can place one in your child’s room to get alerts when he wakes up and cries, one in the living room to know if an intruder breaks in, or one near a smoke alarm to get alerts if it sounds. However, the sound sensor does not have the ability to distinguish your baby’s cry from the smoke alarm or an intruder; it simply alerts you when a loud sound is detected. That said, you’ll still need other devices, like a camera, to verify alerts.
The temperature and humidity sensor’s primary use is monitoring your home’s health. Anyware will immediately alert you if the temperature or humidity exceeds or goes below normal levels. But like the sound sensor, it is still your job to act on the alert.
For now, the ambient light sensor is a bit of a mystery. My guess is that it may be a way of automating the lights’ brightness as it does include light dimming capabilities.
Unlike BeON, Anyware has geo-fencing and can tell whether you are home or away. When you’re home, the sound sensor disarms to prevent false alarms. But the moment you leave the premises, the sound sensor arms.
It’s a choice between security and convenience. From a security perspective, BeON is clearly the winner. However, the way it requires you to activate Home and Away mode is not convenient. Also, it can’t notify you of events when you are away. Anyware can, and for that reason, I’m calling it a tie.
Round 3: Automation
BeON is not strong when it comes to automation. It lacks geo-fencing, it lacks integration with other products, and it lacks scenes or rules. But what I like about BeON is its modular design. If in the future they decide to add Wi-Fi, for example, they could simply release a new smart module. This design makes it easier for users to upgrade and helps to future-proof the technology.
Anyware automates using scenes. Do your kids like sleeping with their lights on? You can create a scene that gradually dims their light until it turns off, and then have it notify you if your kids are still making sounds after lights out. You can also create scenes that simulate an occupied home, making it appear like you’re home when you’re not. As an added bonus, scenes work even if you lose your internet connection.
They’ve also announced plans to integrate Anyware with IFTTT, Nest, SmartThings, and Amazon Echo. What about HomeKit? Originally, they planned on putting MFi chips into their bulbs, which is needed for HomeKit compatibility. However, they recently ran into issues with HomeKit, and the feature will most likely be scraped off.
Really? You still want me to say who the winner is? Alright, Anyware.
Where To Buy & Pricing
The BeON Smart Module costs $60 and the bulbs cost another $15 each. However, you can save if you buy a set. For example, 3 modules and 3 bulbs only cost $199 instead of $225.
Anyware is currently sourcing funds from their IndieGoGo campaign. Aside from their $30,000 initial funding goal, which they already reached, they’ve established stretch goals. If they reach $60,000 in funding, they will add Preventive Burglar Control. Instead of creating scenes to make it appear like you’re home, Anyware learns how you control your lights and automatically mimics this behavior when you are away (just like BeON). Another stretch goal will be unlocked if they reach $90,000, which is Personalized Room-Specific Control and iBeacon. These features work together to give each family member customized lighting control.
Anyware can be pre-ordered for as low as $60 each. You can also pre-order 3 bulbs for $168. The product is expected to ship to backers early next year.
I choose BeON as the overall winner. First, you don’t need to wait to own it, you can order one now. Second, its modular design is more flexible, potentially making the product future-proof. And finally, because it is smarter. It has built-in learning capabilities, it can distinguish sounds, and it can respond to alerts automatically.