Are you interested in smart technology for the home, but feel a bit overwhelmed by the range of products out there? If that sounds a bit like you, then smart light bulbs could be a good place to start. Good lighting design has always been important in turning a house into a home and smart lighting can improve on that, by giving you the technology to control that lighting much more easily.
What are Smart light bulbs?
Smart light bulbs are LED bulbs that can be controlled from your smartphone, tablet or gadget such as the Amazon Echo. They connect to your smart device via your wifi, blue tooth or a home hub connected to your router. They allow you to control your lighting when you are at home but also when you are not. Some of the best smart light bulbs currently on the market are Philips Hue, LIFX and Hive but there are many others. Unfortunately ‘smart’ bulbs are more expensive to buy than normal LED bulbs because they contain a lot of extra technology. However they are fun gadgets to use and can actually be useful around the home. It is definitely worth buying at least one or two smart bulbs to try out. If you decide that you like them you can always add more to your arrangement later on.
Benefits of smart light bulbs
They can change colour
Smart light bulbs come in ‘white’ and ‘colour’. Some white models only produce one colour of white light whereas other models allow you to select the exact shade (from a choice of 50,000) all the way from cold white to warm white. ‘Colour’ smart bulbs contain the technology to generate light of any colour you desire. This means that with this option you can easily change the lighting colour to match your event, decor or even mood. Smart LED lightstrips is also another popular way of adding colour to your home.
Lights can be arranged in groups for ease of control
This means groups of lights can be turned on/off at the same time with one click of an app on a smart phone or tablet – so no more going from room to room, turning every light on/off by hand.
Lights can be scheduled to switch on or off at certain times of day
This is ideal for setting room lighting for when you are not at home. Changes to the schedule can also be easily made using your smart device, no matter where you are in the world as long as you have a wifi connection.
Lights can be voice activated
One of the most popular gadgets purchased this Christmas was the Amazon Echo. This is a smart speaker which connects to a voice controlled intelligent personal assistant service (Alexa). Using voice commands, the Echo can be used to turn smart lights on and off, dim them or change their colour. Other similar versions of this technology are Google Home and Apple Home Kit.
They are low energy LED bulbs
As with other LED light bulbs they are very low energy so their running costs are lower than traditional bulbs. They also have a lifespan of roughly 15,000 hours compared to between 1000 and 2000 hours for an incandescent bulb.
Lights can be dimmed or brightened as required via an app on your smartphone or tablet
This is ideal for creating different mood lighting throughout your home. Some models of bulb can even be set to light up slowly (like the sun) to gently wake you up in the morning.
Although smart light bulbs have many benefits, it must be remembered that this technology is still relatively new and there are differences in the ways different brands of smart light bulb work. Some require hubs or use Bluetooth, others don’t. Some light bulbs can link to Alexa and can be voice activated and others can’t. It is therefore important that you do your homework and make sure you understand the properties of the light bulbs you are buying so that they perform as expected and are compatible with your existing technology.
New technology is clearly a wonderful thing but if you find you need a break, our friends at Porch.com have written a helpful article ‘How to Unplug Your Home for the Ultimate Digital Detox‘.
If you would like any help with lighting design or installation in your home or business Capital City Electrical can help. We are experienced NICEIC electrical contractors in Edinburgh. Give us a call on 0131 202 9188 or Get in touch