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Wyze Bulb review: An $8 smart home accessory that shines bright Review

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Smart Home Guide

From connected light bulbs, to plant sensors, to smart locks, and beyond, smart home tech is growing and evolving rapidly. Here you’ll find the latest product reviews, news, and how-tos to help you connect your surroundings to the internet in the smartest way possible.

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Wyze, the company that’s made a name for itself by releasing connected devices for the home that cost a fraction of what the competition charges, recently announced that it was expending its product portfolio to include connected light bulbs.

Wyze Bulbs have been shipping for a couple of weeks now, and Wyze recently sent me a four-pack to test.

For the past week or so, I’ve had two bulbs set up in my home and, well, the only question I have left is: What else can Wyze make this cheap and this good?

Price, specs, setup

You can expect to pay $8 for a single Wyze Bulb, or $30 for a four-pack of Bulbs. Each lightbulb connects directly to your Wi-Fi network, instead of using a hub and, in turn, requiring you to purchase more hardware.

Each Bulb is 60 Watts, 800 Lumens, and works with 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. The lack of support for 5Ghz Wi-Fi is disappointing, but that’s par for the course when it comes to smart home accessories, with only a few of the more expensive cameras supporting dual-band connections.

You can adjust the color temperature of the Bulb through the Wyze app, with a temperature range of 2700k-6500k (from soft white to daylight to cool white), and a quoted 20,000 hours of life.

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Setup is a breeze. Using the Wyze app you add a new device, select Wyze Bulb, enter your Wi-Fi network credentials and then connect to the Bulb’s own ad-hoc wireless network. A second later, the bulb is connected to your Wi-Fi network and the app is asking you to name the light.

The light is then added to your list of devices in the Wyze app, where you can then turn it on and off, adjust the brightness level and color temperature. Setting up each bulb took under a minute from the time I put it into the lightbulb socket until I could control it from my phone.

Any adjustments I’ve made in the app have been reflected on the nearby lightbulb in near real time, with very little delay or lag. It’s crazy to me that you can pay just a few dollars more than what you’d pay for a standard 60W bulb, and it’s controllable from my phone.

wyze-bulb-controls.jpg

Controls for Wyze Bulb in the Wyze app. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Smart features

Within the Wyze app, you can create shortcuts and scenes for the company’s various products. For Wyze Bulbs, a scene can be used to set the color temperature and brightness of a bulb. Maybe you prefer a softer white light from a nearby light or lamp in the morning, with a daylight light during the day, and don’t want to have to use the slider to adjust the light as the day progresses. With a scene, you open the app, select the light you want to change and then tap on the scene you created.

Shortcuts allow you to automate various actions. For example, if you want a light to turn on and then off at set times each day, a shortcut can do that for you. Alternatively, you can use a camera detecting motion (or a sensor, for that matter) to turn a light on.

Wyze products work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls and home automation. You’ll need to launch the respective service’s app and add Wyze to your account before you can tell Google Home or an Echo to turn your lights on or off, but, again, that process took me just a few minutes.

Not only can I turn each bulb on or off, but I can have Alexa adjust brightness and even the color of the light for each Bulb with a voice command. Beyond testing, I haven’t found a need to adjust the color temperature of each light, but should Wyze ever release bulbs that offer more color options similar to Phillips Hue bulbs, you can bet I’d use that voice command.

I haven’t even started to experiment with Wyze and IFTTT integration, but that only adds to the capabilities of Wyze products.

wyze-bulb-2.jpg

Wyze Bulb looks, pretty much, just like any other light bulb. 


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

A growing, affordable ecosystem

Wyze Bulb is an easy recommendation. It’s affordable, reliable, and integrates with other services without any issues.

The Wyze ecosystem has slowly, and somewhat quietly, become one of the most notable smart home lineups available.

$70. That’s the total cost for a Wyze Cam V2 security camera, a Wyze Sense starter kit, and four Wyze Bulbs. The total breaks down to $30 for the bulbs and $20 each for the camera and the sensor kit. That’s enough hardware to monitor the entrance to your home or apartment, a nearby window, and main hallway. A similar setup from Ring, Nest, or even Samsung would cost hundreds of dollars, not counting the monthly subscription fees.

The first time I used a Wyze product in Oct. 2017, I surprised and somewhat delighted by the experience that a $20 home security camera provided.

Nearly two years later, I still feel that way. Every time I unbox a new Wyze product, I’m convinced that it’s going to be the product that falls short of expectations. Every time, I’m wrong.

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Security

The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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