GE Lighting announced a big expansion of its smart lighting brand Cync’s Dynamic Effects line this week. The new entertainment-themed products position Cync even more squarely as a cheaper Philips Hue and Nanoleaf competitor.
New hexagon wall panels, neon-style rope lights that can be shaped how you like, and A19 and BR30 bulbs join the full-color gradient indoor and outdoor light strips Cync launched late last year, which are around $40 cheaper than comparable Hue versions.
All Dynamic Effects products can display 16 million colors, tunable white light, and preset and custom lighting effects similar to Hue and Nanoleaf products. The LEDs are addressable and can display multiple colors simultaneously — even the A19 and BR30 bulbs, which can show up to four colors at once.
According to GE Lighting, the new products all have on-device music syncing and tunable white light in addition to the full spectrum of color. They’re due to launch in March 2023 and will start at $19.99 for the A19 Aline bulb and $26.99 for the indoor floodlights and go up to $199.99 for a 10-pack of the Hexagon Panel Lights. Those will also come in a seven-pack for $169.99, which is around $30 less than Nanoleaf’s starter pack of seven panels. The Neon Rope lights will cost $79.99 for 10 inches and $119.99 for 16 inches.
The company also announced its $12.50 A19 Cync Full Color Direct Connect Smart Bulb and $15 Cync Indoor Smart Plug will be the first to add support for Matter, allowing them to work with any Matter-compatible smart home platform or device, with more products coming later in 2023.
However, GE Lighting also said previous products won’t be getting updated to the new interoperability smart home standard. Instead, they’ll be releasing new products with Matter support over the next year, meaning these newly announced Dynamic Effects products won’t work with Matter.
Cync’s products work over Wi-Fi and BLE Mesh and don’t require a bridge or hub. They are controlled by the Cync app, powered by Savant — which purchased GE Lighting in 2020. Competitor Hue uses Zigbee and Bluetooth with a bridge while Nanoleaf works over Thread and Wi-Fi, and both have fully committed to Matter.
Cync also has a new slimline Cync Reveal HD Plus Full Color Wafer Downlights coming in Q3 2023 (no pricing yet), which adds a “whiter white” option for recessed lighting and a slimmer profile. There is already a Cync line of these easy-to-install ceiling light fixtures, but the Reveal line is designed for bathrooms and kitchens where you might want the best clarity light.
Finally, the Cync app is getting a new integration with Schlage Encode smart locks so you can tie lighting automations to locking and unlocking your door.
This smart lock integration provides Cync with an almost complete smart home solution, covering lighting, locks, climate control, and cameras. At CES last year, Cync introduced 11 new smart bulbs, a new outdoor camera, and a smart thermostat, adding to a portfolio that already has smart light switches, dimmers, indoor and outdoor bulbs, smart plugs, an indoor camera, and a motion sensor.
But that solution is something of a “curated” garden and has limited integrations with other platforms (most Cync products work with Amazon Alexa and Google Home). If Cync continues to embrace Matter across all of its products and broadens its interoperability, it could be in a very good position to attract new smart home users. The lower price point compared to Hue and Nanoleaf combined with a well-known brand name is an attractive proposition.
However, its reliance on BLE Mesh, compared to the respective Zigbee and Thread support of its competitors, is a weak spot. Matter could help improve connectivity, but with a limited rollout at the start along with the lack of backward compatibility with existing Cync devices, it seems like the company is still hedging its bets on the new interoperability standard.