As homeowners and consumers, we all want products that are reliable and enhance our daily lives, and smart lighting is no exception.
But what exactly is smart lighting?
Smart lighting systems offer a slew of features that outperform your traditional home fixture. They can maximize energy efficiency, boost convenience, and just add a touch of tech-savvy to your home.
So, how is it convenient? What are the technologies behind it? In this article, we will delve into the techs behind smart lighting and explore the various benefits it can offer.
What Is Smart Lighting?
From the word itself, smart lighting is an innovative way to light your home. Unlike traditional light bulbs, you don’t need to manually turn them off/on using a wall switch.
Sure, you could dim or brighten the lights of your standard light bulb. But that’s it.
A smart light, on the other hand, does more than light your home.
It provides you with significantly greater control at your fingertips. You can control your smart bulbs and LED-integrated fixtures wirelessly using your smartphone, through voice command apps like Alexa and Google Assistant.
It allows you to set schedules, adjust brightness and colors, and even integrate with other smart home systems for a more convenient living experience.
Many smart lighting options even include motion and lighting sensors. If it detects a high amount of daylight or the presence of people and movement in a room, the bulbs switch on and off. Such improvements can prevent energy waste caused by mistakenly keeping lights on when you’re not home.
Benefits of Smart Lighting
Smart lighting systems can provide a range of benefits including:
Some nights, it’s easy to forget to flick a switch. It just happens!
Thankfully, smart lights are designed to be energy-efficient. While they may have a higher upfront cost, smart lights can save you money on utility bills in the long run—thanks to their motion-sensing features.
The discreet motion sensors detect whether a space is occupied. If it doesn’t detect any person in your room for a long period of time, the smart lights automatically turn off.
Plus, smart lighting uses the latest bulbs and LEDs which have been shown to be more energy efficient and have a significantly longer lifespan. According to energy.gov, you can consume up to 90% less energy with a smart lighting system.
Smart lighting, unlike traditional light bulbs, can be configured to turn on and off at certain times. You can change the colors and adjust brightness depending on your needs and preferences.
While you need to install a dimmer switch in your wall with traditional bulbs, smart LED lights allow you to dim it hands-free. It provides you with endless possibilities.
Security and Safety
Depending on the model, you could set your smart light to turn on and off randomly while you’re away. This will give the impression that someone is at home. It could deter intruders and increase security, especially if you’ll be away or on a vacation for a long time.
Smart lights are truly built for convenience.
You don’t have to physically walk around and switch them on and off. As long as you have a WiFi connection, you can control your smart light bulbs from anywhere using a smartphone app. This is useful if you forget to turn off the lights when you leave the house or if you want to turn on the lights before you get home.
You can also set your lights to turn on and off at specific times of the day or on particular days of the week. It’s a convenient way to automatically control your lights without having to think about it.
Obviously, one of the key benefits of smart light bulbs is that they can work with other smart home devices. They can integrate with your security cameras, thermostats, and smoke alarms. This allows you to set automation routines that control your lights based on the activity of other devices.
For example, you can set your smart lights to turn on when your security camera recognizes any motion or when your smoke detector goes off. It not only protects you from intruders, but it also keeps your home safe.
Smart lights also offer geofencing. This means that you can set your lights to turn on or off when you enter or leave your house depending on your smartphone’s location.
Plus, you can also use it to connect with your other integrated systems like turning on the driveway and porch lights and lifting your garage door. Higher-end smart lights even connect with your sound system and home theater.
You read that right—smart lights can set the mood in a room by tapping on the adjustment. So, it’s not just switching between cool and warm lights anymore, you can also set it to your preferred color and brightness for different occasions.
Some smart light bulbs even feature pre-set “scenes” to create various atmospheres. If you want to have a “sunset” scene, for example, the light will slowly dim and change color of the lights to a warm orange.
Improved Health and Wellness
According to Harvard Health Publishing, blue light suppresses melatonin. And this can negatively affect sleep patterns. Many LED lights have been found to disturb circadian rhythms due to cold, white light. If you keep having irregular sleep patterns, it can eventually lead to health problems.
Fortunately, manufacturers are becoming aware of this. And that’s why many smart lights allow you to switch to warm or red colors to help encourage a restful night’s sleep.
Light can also have a huge effect on your mood and the right lighting can help improve your mood and well-being. Warmer, softer colors, for example, can help set a calming ambiance, while brighter, cooler colors can positively affect energy and focus.
What Are the Types of Smart Lighting?
You can pick from a range of smart lighting options. Below are the most popular types of smart lighting.
Smart Light Bulb
Smart light bulbs are WiFi-enabled fixtures that come in a slew of features. You can attach these bulbs to your existing receptacle and then pair it with your home’s Wi-Fi network. Smart features include mood-based light colors, adjustable brightness, and scheduling.
These types of lights allow you to control lights through your smartphone app. It also lets you decide how many individual bulbs you can put and where they will be most useful.
Hub-Controlled Smart Light
Hub-controlled ones have a wider reach. And they can function as a centralized smart lighting system. You can control them with a smartphone app or assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home. Plus, you can connect them to a range of other smart home devices, such as smart thermostats, smart locks, and smart appliances.
However, they may require a higher initial investment. But the cost outweighs the convenience since they offer a more integrated smart home experience.
When it comes to this type of smart light, you need to carefully pick the model to ensure compatibility with your smart home hub.
If you have multiple smart devices, adding hub-controlled smart lighting can provide a number of IFTTT (if this, then that) uses. This lets you adjust the color of the light based on the weather or indoor temperature.
Motion Sensing Light
This type of smart light is common in outdoor spaces. It detects movement in an area and automatically turns on or off the lights. They’re great as street lights and many of them even use solar panels so they’re energy efficient.
Technologies in Smart Lighting Systems
There are several technologies that are commonly used in smart lighting systems, including:
Wifi is the reason you can control your smart light through a remote or an app. It enables devices to communicate with one another and with the internet. If your smart light is connected to the WiFi, you can control the lights using a smartphone app or voice commands.
However, interference from other devices that use the same frequency can disrupt Wi-Fi. This could lead to slower speeds or less dependability, which can be a disadvantage in some cases.
This is a type of short-range wireless technology that connects devices across a few meters. Many smart lights use Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone app or other device. This feature lets you control the lights remotely.
Z-Wave Wireless Communication
Similar to ZigBee, Z-wave is another wireless communication technology that is often used in home automation systems. It also communicates between devices. And it connects to a central hub using a low-power, low-range radio frequency.
How Much Do Smart Lighting Systems Cost?
It varies per brand and features. A simple model with a hub and a few smart bulbs may cost as low as $50, while a more comprehensive system with a higher number of smart bulbs, sensors, and other features may run you several hundred dollars.
It’s also worth noting that you can add smart lighting features to your existing lighting system. And this might be a cheaper alternative if you only want to upgrade a few lights.
What Is the Difference Between Smart Lights and LED Lights?
Smart lights are lights that you can control and automate through your smart home device or smartphone app. LEDs or light-emitting diodes, on the other hand, have various advantages over traditional types of lighting. They use less energy, last longer, and provide bright, high-quality light.
Many smart lights use LED bulbs, combining their energy efficiency and long lifespan. However, not all LEDs are smart lights.
Smart lighting is intended to be extremely convenient. It gives you full control over how lights are used in your home and allows you to customize them as you see fit. They are easy to use and integrate, and they offer high energy efficiency.
If you’re thinking about adding a smart lighting system to your home, make sure to do your homework and go with a reputable brand.
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