Vocca, a lighting adapter than enables an ordinary bulb to turn on and off with vocal commands. Vocca, a lighting adapter than enables an ordinary bulb to turn on and off with vocal commands. Just say 'Go Vocca Light' for instant illumination (or darkness). (Photo: Vocca)

Turning on your lights just got easier – just say the 'magic words'

Why get up to flip a switch or fumble around for a smartphone when you can simply tell a light bulb what to do?

“Go Vocca Light!” 

That's what entrepreneur Ori Indursky refers to as the “magic words” that enable a user to control their lighting through a simple vocal command. It's done through a plug-and-play light bulb adapter controlled not by smartphone or touch, but by the sound of a user's own voice. It's called Vocca, and will be available for purchase before the end of the year.

Call it the next-generation Clapper. Having just wrapped up a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, Vocca has been compared to a next-generation take on the infamous late-1980s sound-activated electrical switch. But whereas the Clapper can be inadvertently set off by coughing, a barking dog or noise from a TV, Vocca can only be set into action by those three magic words: “Go Vocca Light.”

Vocca's creators – Indursky and his Israel-based team – wanted to take smart lighting to a brighter level, so to speak. They acknowledged that the smartphone-enabled LED bulb currently on the market can be a nifty addition to the home, but as it gained popularity, users began complaining of its burdensome qualities – namely, instead of subjecting ourselves to the grueling process of manually operating a light switch, we often spend even more time searching for our smartphone, then fumbling around on an app just to turn the lights on. Sure, smart LED bulbs have a number of appealing features – customized colors and temperature, scheduling, slashed energy bills and the potential to play pranks on unsuspecting houseguests – but, in the end, does the desire to have an exceptionally brainy home outweigh the need to be fully reliant on a mobile device to perform simple tasks?

That was the thinking behind Vocca. Referring to this voice-enabled technology as “truly smart lighting,” Indursky told From the Grapevine: “Smart bulbs are a pretty smart gadget, but they lack one very important thing: a good user experience for everyday use. Who wants to pull out their smartphone to control lighting?"

For further customization, Indursky and his team have also developed Vocca Pro. Although similar in design to the standard model, the Bluetooth-enabled Vocca Pro features an Android and iOS-compatible app that allows for scheduling and other basic smart bulb features. 

Vocca, a lighting adapter than enables an ordinary bulb to turn on and off with vocal commands.The plug-and-play Vocca features a built-in microphone and voice recognition technology. (Photo: Vocca)

The niftiest part? 

With the Vocca Pro app, users can create custom vocal commands if “go Vocca light” just doesn’t roll off the tongue like they want it to. Perhaps “abracadabra" or “I can’t see” would do nicely? When multiple Vocca units are installed throughout a home, each can have its own custom trigger. Or, a single trigger word or phrase can be used to make things less confusing.

As mentioned, Vocca is appropriate for low-wattage bulbs, making the device a shoo-in for CLFs and LEDs. Although Vocca is always on and awaiting a command when a corresponding light switch is flipped on, Indursky explained that the device draws a mere .25 watts – “absolutely nothing in terms of power consumption."

It’s also worth pointing out the device’s range. Although it would be nice to think that a light bulb can hear you from up the stairs and down the hall, testing has shown that Vocca's optimum range is 10 to 15 feet. Like with misbehaving pets and automated phone systems, using a firm, authoritative voice, not a seductive whisper, is ideal.

Pre-orders of Vocca start shipping this December.

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