Smart lighting solutions are a great way to make your home and office more efficient. You can control your lights via a smartphone app and change their colour as well as schedule them to turn on or off at certain times. Some devices can even be controlled by voice assistants. They also have energy monitoring and can provide useful information about how much electricity you are using.
The most common smart lighting solutions are smart bulbs and switches. They can be used in any light fixture and work independently of each other, but they can also be grouped together. Grouping them allows you to control multiple bulbs at once, for example, a group of downlights and a group of lamps. You can also create schedules or scenes, for example, a ‘bedtime’ scene that turns all your lamps off and dims them at the same time.
These devices can be used with different protocols, although Wi-Fi and Zigbee are the most popular. Bulbs that use Wi-Fi don’t require a hub, but they can be affected by the strength and range of your wireless network. Zigbee systems are more reliable and every bulb acts as a repeater, increasing the range of the signal. These systems can be overloaded by too many devices though.
One of the newest smart lighting solutions is from LIFX. It is called Clean and works as a normal light, but it can also be set to emit High Energy Visible (HEV) light that kills bacteria at close range. This is particularly useful in bathrooms and kitchens. You can also control it with your voice, through Google Home and Amazon Alexa or with Siri on your iPhone.
If you prefer not to replace your existing light fixtures, there are smart switches and plugs that can be used in place of traditional ones. These can also be added to a smart home system, although they only give you basic control of the light, including switching it on and off.
Some smart lighting solutions, such as Philips Hue, can be connected to a home automation system such as Apple HomeKit or Google’s SmartThings. They can be linked to voice assistants like Siri and Amazon Alexa, and they can also work with a security system. These integrations make it easy to control your lighting from anywhere in the world, as well as monitor it and get a real-time report of how much electricity you are using.
There are some downsides to smart lighting solutions, such as the initial cost and the fact that they can be hacked. Since they require an internet connection to function, hackers can gain access if there is a flaw in the device’s software. However, most manufacturers have worked hard to ensure that their products have robust security features.