What is SMART lighting? Everything you want to know for your connected home.
Controlling lights with your voice used to be something only a magician could do, but these days we have intelligent light systems that not a long time ago were the realm of science-fiction. The biggest name is Philips with its Hue bulbs, but IKEA, Hive and a whole host of others have got in on the action too.
Let’s go to the important things: what’s right for you, is it going to cost a fortune and is it going become obsolete at any time soon? Let’s find out.
So, what’s smart light?
Smart lighting is a light that you could control from an application, typically on your Apple or even Android phone.
The program allows you to change the brightness of the bulbs, and if the bulbs have coloured LEDs, you can change their colours too. That opens up a whole world of possibilities, which you could call light recipes: you could have one light recipe for viewing films, another for dinnertime, and another for reading.
Switching from one to another is as straightforward as tapping on a smartphone or yelling at your favourite voice-activated personal assistant.
What will you need for a lighting system?
Smart lighting usually uses mesh networking, where every bulb wirelessly connects to its closest neighbour. That network is controlled by means of a hub that plugs into your router, allowing your other networked devices – like your phone or tablet computer communicate with your light bulbs.
Some systems also have an away from home mode that will enable you to control the lights when you are far away, which can be handy if you’ve only remembered that you left the light on or wish to terrify the babysitter. Not all systems need a hub, though.
Siri, Alexa, Google Home and much more.
Smart lighting systems are not only controllable with smartphone or tablet programs. Philips Hue system works with Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Echo, and Google Home, and that means you may use those programs to relay your voice commands.
There is something undeniably cool to say ”Hey Siri, set the scene for cinema”, or ”Alexa, turn the lights off”.
Smart lighting system cost.
Looking at a small living space, we have got one ceiling lamp, 3 spotlights and a beautiful place behind the Television to put a light strip.
That little will cost about £49 for the bridge, £147 for the light spots and £64.99 for the light strip. So that’s £260 for living space, using coloured bulbs for the six spotlights from the dining area would add another £300.
Smart spotlights can turn front room into something including your favourite band’s stage light, whereas light strips and light recipes may transform a space without the hassle and expense of redecorating. And if you’ve children, they’ll enjoy messing around with the options and producing their very own recipes or using 3rd party applications to turn your front room into a discotheque.
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