Buddy Technologies vows to shake up the smart lighting market with latest product release

Buddy Technologies ASX BUD LIFX White smart light Amazon
Buddy Technologies' LIFX White smart light is affordable and includes a simple set up to integrate it with a customer's home wireless network.

Smart space solutions provider Buddy Technologies (ASX: BUD) is set to release a cost-effective, easy-to-install product which has been specifically designed to shake-up the smart lighting market.

LIFX White has been developed in conjunction with retail partners globally to address the two main hurdles to the mainstream adoption of smart lights, being cost and set-up difficulty.

The company says it is intended to be the most accessible and easy-to-use smart light on the market, designed to work seamlessly with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa.

It will also support a range of Amazon connectivity technologies, and feature a simple set-up to automatically associate the light with a customer’s home wireless network and LIFX account by way of an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

With a price tag of approximately US$9.99 per unit, LIFX White will be the first LIFX product to break the US$10 barrier.

Retail partners have reportedly provided global order forecast volumes considered large enough to warrant a first parts and manufacturing order of 500,000 lights.

Typically these forecasts are made well in advance of actual orders coming in, as products take an average of three months to be manufactured, shipped and warehoused, ready for ordering by retailers.

Market disruption

Buddy chief executive officer David McLauchlan was confident the arrival of LIFX White would disrupt the smart lighting category.

“It is only possible to get to this price point and maintain our margins [when we have] with the kind of global volume that our retail partners around the world can provide,” he said.

“Importantly, there has been a vast improvement in the set-up experience Amazon provides with its simple set-up technologies for smart devices within the Alexa ecosystem.”

LIFX White will replace the existing LIFX Mini White light, which costs US$19.99 per unit, and is expected to hit the market in the second quarter.

The company is currently making supply chain arrangements to ensure production is at full capacity in time for a US and European summer launch.

Coronavirus impact

Earlier this week, Buddy confirmed that production of its LIFX Switch smart in-wall light switch – manufactured in Shenzhen, China – had been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with delays being incurred in glass manufacturing, component supply and packaging.

While the manufacturing company recently resumed production, Buddy is yet to confirm the impact of the delays on its own delivery schedules.

“Encouragingly, the manufacturer has been online and operating at 50% capacity for the past two weeks, and has provided guidance that it expects to be back at 80% capacity from today,” Mr McLauchlan said.

“While there may be localised short-term shortages on a small number of product lines in particular markets, [we] expect minimal impact from the shutdown on [our other] LIFX products.”

He said the company would endeavour to leverage existing stock on hand to minimise the material impact on suppliers.