Smart lighting solutions allow you to connect your lights to the Internet, enabling you to control them remotely and gain insight into their energy usage. They help cities feel safer, make streets multi-functional and push costs of maintenance and energy down among other benefits.
Smart light systems work by connecting to your Wi-Fi network and being controlled via an app on a smartphone or tablet, or a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Home. They typically use LEDs which consume a fraction of the electricity and generate a lot less heat than filament bulbs. They also last much longer. Smart lights can be pre-set to turn on or off at specific times, making it look as if someone is home and helping deter burglars.
They can also be set to change colour to match the scene or mood, or they can be used with an entertainment system like a TV to sync colours and brightness with what is being watched. They can also be turned on when you are away so that it looks as if someone is home, or they can come on automatically when you are arriving at night.
These systems are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, from light bulbs to strip lights, lamps, floor lamps, downlighters, recessed cans and more. They can be controlled either individually or in groups and are available in a wide range of price points.
Some have built-in motion sensors that can trigger the lights to switch on when it detects movement. Others can be integrated into security systems or be paired with other devices such as smart thermostats to enable automated, energy-saving heating and cooling.
When choosing a system, it is important to check which smart home platforms and technologies it works with, and whether any hubs are required. Some smart lights use a dedicated hub which plugs into your Internet router and acts as a wireless bridge between the bulb and your home Wi-Fi. This is often the case with Philips Hue bulbs, which require a bridge to work with Apple HomeKit and third-party voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Other brands like Wiz Connected (which was purchased by Signify and now belongs to the Hue family) are similar in that they don’t use a hub but instead connect directly to your home Wi-Fi.
Other lighting systems are powered by a smart home platform, such as the popular Control4 system. This allows for integration of all your connected devices into one central app and includes features such as Intercom Anywhere, When>Then Scene Personalization and more.
Regardless of the type of lighting system you choose, you can also add extra intelligence to your home by installing smart switches and sockets. These are easy to install and offer a more affordable way to get started with smart lighting in rooms that don’t need constant use, such as the garage, laundry room, or closets. Smart switches can also be used to automate other home appliances such as AV equipment, washing machines and tumble dryers.