Smart Lighting - 4 Simple Reasons Why You'll Love It (2019)
Have you ever forgotten to switch off the lights right before going to bed?
How many times have you gone to bed and wondered if the kitchen lights downstairs are still on?
Did you know that you can remotely manage your home lighting with ease? With a tap on your smartphone you can simply turn your lights on or off without having to get out of bed.
In this article, we will give you four simple reasons why smart lighting solutions are useful and practical.
Smart bulbs vs. smart switches
The first decision you have to make is between smart bulbs and smart switches. Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages. The things you have to consider are:
Smart bulbs win in this segment. Typically, smart bulbs have Wi-Fi capabilities and you install them by simply screwing them in like a normal lightbulb. You then use a smartphone app to control the smart bulb directly. Some brands of smart bulbs require you to buy a gateway or hub that works as a communication bridge between your smartphone and the smart bulbs.
On the other hand, smart switches are not as easy to install as smart bulbs. In order to install a smart switch, you need to add an additional component to your existing wiring that then automates your bulb. If you already have an ordinary light bulb installed, that means replacing the old light switch with a smart one or adding a smart device behind the old light switch. Also note that smart switches require you to have neutral wires, which are not common in houses older than 30 years.
In this segment smart switches have the edge. We don’t want to discuss exact pricing, as it differs greatly between brands. You can find cheap smart bulbs that cost less than switches, but higher quality bulbs are much more expensive.
A smart switch might cost as much as a quality light bulb, but a smart switch can control multiple bulbs. For example, you could control your whole room’s lighting with just one smart switch. Beside that, a smart switch will work with any kind of light bulb. You don’t need to worry about compatibility - as is sometimes the case with smart bulbs.
If you want your light bulbs to change color, then you have to go with smart bulbs. The smart switch is connected to an “ordinary” light bulb, which doesn’t have the ability to change color. With a smart switch you will be able to remotely switch the lights on and off. Some smart switches also enable you to dim the lights (change their brightness). But if you want color, then smart bulbs are your only option.
The smart switch takes the cake here. In real world use, they’re just more practical, and there are a few reasons why. With a smart switch, your now smart light bulb can still work as an ordinary light bulb. In case your network crashes, your hub breaks, your Wi-Fi is down, you can still switch your lights on and off using the light switch. Just imagine you have guests over and they try to turn the lights on or off. Or imagine the reaction of your grandma when you say “Ok, from now on we control our lights using our smartphones”. That would be funny at first - and then all hell would break loose! Smart bulbs only work when the light switch is turned on. If someone (maybe by mistake) turns it off, you cannot control the bulb through the phone anymore.
So, without any further ado, here are four main reasons why you’ll love having smart lighting in your home.
1. Smart Lighting = Safety
Smart lighting is a really smart way to make it look like you are home - even when you’re not. For some people this is one of the main reasons for smart home lighting. If this is your aim, then you want to make it look realistic, your smart lights should run on a specific set schedule to hide the fact that you actually have things automated.
You can set them on an auto timer with sunrise and sunset. Even if you go for 14 days on a trip to Spain, you can set the lights to be on in the evenings. The funniest phone call I have ever had was on my trip in Barcelona from some close friends who live in the neighbourhood. “Are you guys home, we thought you were in Spain?”
2. Smart lights dim!
One of our favourite smart lighting features is definitely the ability to change the brightness of the lighting. You may want to have just a bit of light when you’re watching TV or having a romantic dinner and more light when you read a book. You can easily adjust the brightness with a simple swipe on your smartphone.
If you want to be able to dim your lights with a smart switch, make sure the switch supports dimming.
3. Control your smart lights from anywhere
Smart lighting is convenient. Beside the fact, that you can control them from anywhere using your smartphone, there are countless possible use cases, if you’re imaginative enough! For example, you can come home to lit house without having to leave the lights on and waste electricity. Using the gateway, you can combine automation of lighting with other smart devices. This way, you can make the lights automatically turn off when the TV is on, you can connect them to a movement sensor, so the lights turn on when you step into the basement. You can always adjust schedules, so the lights turn on when it gets dark and turn off when it’s time for bed. Keep an open mind and you’ll have many options to make your life a little more convenient.
4. Pick any colour you like
If changing brightness of the lights isn’t enough for you, you can take the next step and change its colour. Just to remind you again - usually only smart bulbs are able to change colour. You can change colour with a smart switch if you have a device, that has the possibility to change colour, i.e. RGB LED strips. Ordinary light bulbs most likely don’t have this feature. With smart bulbs you can create “scenes”. Maybe in the morning you prefer a yellowish tint, in the evening an orange one and in the night a red one. You can save different scenes and use them later manually or even automate them. Higher quality smart bulbs have over 16 million colours.
These are the four main reasons that we believe smart lighting is awesome.
But wait! There’s more to it.
Beside that, there are many other reasons, that will overcome your doubts about smart lighting.
Smart lighting is easy to install.
Some smart bulbs are basically plug’n’play, other require a hub. Smart switches require some technical skills to install - or an electrician. It’s an easy task for an experienced professional and it shouldn’t take him long to install smart switches in the whole house.
Smart lighting is affordable today.
Not long ago it used to be that smart lights would cost a small fortune. This is not the case today. Smart bulbs can cost as little as 15€. Beside that, smart lighting is power-saving, so you save money on electricity every month.
It adds fun to your home.
There are so many options, schedules, colours and combinations! It also just feels “cool” and futuristic to have smart lighting. We get compliments from our guests all the time!
Smart lights can connect:
to alarm clocks, music, smart locks and other smart home devices. This way the combinations are nearly endless. Come up with great combination ideas and simply set them through your smartphone app.
Voice commands are gaining in popularity every day - and you can control your smart lighting using your voice. It takes a bit more technical knowledge to set it up, but you can connect your smart lighting to voice assistants like Google home, Alexa, Siri, etc. This way you can control the lights without using a switch, which can come handy in certain situations.
smart lighting solutions are useful, fun, affordable, easy to install and safe to use. They can make your home feel more comfortable, more futuristic and more secure. You'll use them every day you own them, and you've got a lot of very strong options to choose from. So yes, if you haven't done so yet, you should strongly consider upgrading your ordinary lighting to smart lighting. Which ones you get depends on what features you're interested in, what platforms you want to connect with, and the scope of your ideal setup.