Smart Ceiling Fans: The Forgotten Lighting Fixtures – CEPro

February 16, 2022 by No Comments

As lighting fixtures have quickly become the hottest new product category for integrators in their mission to “own the ceiling,” there is one other often-forgotten lighting fixture that can also be part of the solution: smart ceiling fans with incorporated lighting fixtures. There are about 12 million ceiling fans sold every year in the United States — many of them that double as both a fan and a lighting fixture — and smart home control manufacturer Olibra thinks the time is right for integrators to become big “fans” of the smart ceiling fan market.

The company conducted its annual survey analyzing the desired features of more than 100,000 ceiling fan users of all major brands that are using the company’s Bond IoT platform for connectivity. According to the survey results, voice control are the two leading reasons for users to add smart ceiling fans to their home. Other important elements consumers desire in their ceiling fans/lighting fixtures are human-centric lighting control, Wi-Fi connectivity, and energy management feedback.

Broad Array of Smart Ceiling Fan Brands

In all, there are more than 30 smart ceiling fan brands

The study shows that 2021 was yet another year of neck-breaking growth in the smart ceiling fan space as more brands and more end users embrace having units with embedded connectivity. Olibra uses the study every year to learn from end users about their preferences and incorporate their needs into new product designs.

The Cresskill, N.J.-based company currently works with the majority of the brand names in ceiling fans.  Hampton Bay, Hunter and Minka are the top three brands of smart ceiling fans. In all, users identified more than 30 brands they have in their homes.

Price, Features, Privacy Are Key Concerns/Desires

About half of all ceiling fans sold in the U.S. are below an average price of $145. Most of the lower cost ceiling fans are sold in big box retailers vs. the more expensive ones sold through lighting stores and showrooms. It means that price sensitivity influences the majority of ceiling fans.

The research reveals that in 2021 there was a clear increase in the willingness to pay for smart features by the users. Indeed in 2021 nearly double the percentage of respondents (84%) say they are willing to pay between $40 and $99 to add Wi-Fi connectivity to a ceiling fan compared with 44% in 2020. The willingness to pay above $100 for connectivity also increased in 2021 relative to 2020. Olibra speculates that the strong increase in the desire for Wi-Fi-connected smart ceiling fans is likely related to the increase in consumers’ appetites overall during the pandemic for wireless connectivity to all IoT devices in the home.

Many IoT platforms powering home appliances are considered to be cloud first, meaning the device cannot operate without internet connectivity. This approach reduces the development cost of such a platform, but opens up many issues related to privacy, security and reliability, according to the study.

Olibra survey respondents sent a very clear signal about the need to have a local control via Wi-Fi and their phone app. Users want to enjoy the benefits of smart home but without the strings attached to having cloud connectivity at all times. The company’s Smart By Bond ceiling fan connectivity platform isolates the fan manufacturer from the need to worry or certify for processing user personal information. The company says it does not share user PII with shade manufacturers or any other third party.

The data clearly shows a strong consumer …….



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