Should you invest in Lightwave PLUS?

Should you invest in Lightwave PLUS

In September, Lightwave launched a paid membership programme called Lightwave PLUS. The idea dates back a few years, as it was mentioned in an early annual report. However, the scheme isn’t without controversy with many consumers finding this new service confusing or a rip-off.

 

As a fan of the Lightwave smart home system, we wanted to provide an in-depth and unbiased look at Lightwave PLUS, enabling you to make an informed decision. We’ll cover if you need to buy a membership, the benefits and whether it provides value for money.

 

 

What is Lightwave PLUS?

Lightwave PLUS is a paid membership scheme that offers several additional benefits and features on top of those currently offered by Lightwave products. Costing £8 per month or £80 for an annual membership, it’s designed to be affordable.

 

As part of becoming a member, users can enjoy extended warranties, expert assistance, and exclusive rewards, amongst other benefits.

 

 

Lightwave app

photo by Lightwave

 

 

What lead Lightwave to develop PLUS?

If you’ve been following the Lightwave story for a few years, you’ll know that they started as LightwaveRF. Fast forward a few years to 2017, and they released the second generation of products and dropped the RF from the name.

 

August 2021 saw the launch of v5.0 firmware. All Lightwave devices in the Smart Series range received new and improved features, that were welcomed by many existing users.

 

Following two years of development, extensive user testing and input from installers, customers and other partners, Lightwave released the PLUS scheme to the market.

 

It offers an additional level of customer and technical support that is optional yet allows Lightwave to maintain existing features and high levels of product support. You could see PLUS as a way for them to fund future products and software.

 

 

What benefits does the scheme offer?

By joining Lightwave PLUS, you have access to a range of extra benefits and enhanced support. Here are a few of these benefits.

 

System backup and restore

Trust the Lightwave servers to protect your data with automatic backups. These include system configuration data, including devices, automation, users, zones and rooms. Easily restore any of this system data.

 

You can also transfer this data to a new Link Plus hub in minutes.

 

5-year extended warranty

PLUS membership extends the standard product warranty on each Smart Series device up to five years. If one of your devices develops a fault and needs replacing or repairing, Lightwave will ensure it happens quickly.

 

Custom Multi-Press Triggers

Each button can trigger a selection of novel actions, including floor lamps, central heating, turning lighting on or off, as just a few examples.

 

Custom Button Mapping

Customise the order and location of each lighting circuit with a smart dimmer. Each pair of buttons on a multi-gang smart dimmer can be swapped around regardless of how each circuit is wired into the dimmer.

 

Custom Dimming Profiles

Customise the dimming attributes of each lighting circuit in graphical form based on brightness over time. A superb way to add a splash of professional lighting design to a room with zoned lighting.

 

13-month event history

Use the system to measure your carbon footprint by simply tracking your energy consumption over the previous year.

 

Priority Member Support

Members can book appointments with a team of highly qualified smart home experts who can help with a range of services from installing, configuring and troubleshooting.

 

Smart Home Health Checks

You can book one-on-one sessions with a Lightwave expert to assess the health of your smart home system. They’ll also provide tailored advice on how to maximize your system.

 

Lightwave PLUS Smart Rewards Scheme

Members accrue reward points against new product purchases and membership fees. Members can redeem these reward points at any time on any Lightwave product.

 

 

Lightwave PLUS lifestyle

photo by Lightwave

 

 

Why is it controversial?

For many reasons, Lightwave PLUS is controversial as users don’t want to pay for additional support, especially as they have already spent thousands buying Lightwave devices. However, this is only part of the story.

 

Only UK focused

As a niche brand, Lightwave largely focuses on the UK market, limiting its potential customer base. Compare this to Fibaro, which offers products for the US, UK and EU markets, and you’ll quickly realise that Lightwave is a small fish, despite their recent addition of some EU devices.

 

Due to their small size, one way to increase revenue is to charge for additional features, extra support and extended warranties. While some of this makes sense, such as the longer warranties, many users see this as Lightwave being opportunistic.

 

Limited product range

Compared to the Z-Wave ecosystem, Lightwave seems very limited. And while they would argue that their products cover the essentials of home automation, some wish for more products or an easier way to integrate third-party devices into the system.

 

Paying for advice

Another issue is having to pay on top of the cost of buying devices. What made the first generation appealing was the low device cost. The trade-off was that the original system didn’t offer two-way communication, advanced feature or sophisticated configuration.

 

That said, users understood that the system’s limitations and were happy to work within them. Lightwave was and is a fantastic option for automating the essential functions of a home.

 

The second-generation products are far more expensive but offer two-way communication, additional features, and more options for configuration. They now compete directly with Z-Wave, Fibaro and SmartThings.

 

Many users have already spent thousands buying Lightwave devices and don’t want to pay for seemingly pointless or limited extras. Some believe Lightwave should already be offering the benefits of PLUS for free as any price is too high.

 

Also, unlike other home automation brands with a global users base and multiple forums, Lightwave users are limited in terms of the support they can access. If you can’t find an answer online, your only options are to experiment, email Lightwave, or talk to an installer who might charge you.

 

Poor historic support

Online you can find mixed reviews of the support that Lightwave has offered in the past. It ranges from fantastic to people still waiting for emails replies months later. Users want excellent support for free as a reward for making a sizeable investment.

 

Lightwave has improved customer service over the years. Hopefully, PLUS builds on this commitment to invest in helping the end-user no matter what.

 

Unique extra

It’s usual for a brand to charge extra for support or to extend a warranty, particularly as many offer a free upgrade for registering products online. So, in this sense, Lightwave is trying something unique and we’ll have to wait and see if this gamble pays off.

 

 

Lightwave power socket

photo by Lightwave

 

 

Is Lightwave PLUS worth it?

It’s hard to justify the cost of Lightwave PLUS, especially as no other leading home automation brand offers a paid membership scheme. As a new scheme, it might be worth waiting a few months before joining.

 

Lightwave might end up offering a year of PLUS membership if you buy a certain amount of devices as a way to hook users in.

 

For some, Lightwave PLUS represent a great opportunity for them to maximise their investment. Not to mention being able to get exclusive access to new products before they are released.

 

In any case, it will be interesting to see how Lightwave develops their PLUS programme.