Great lighting benefits everyone and smart lighting opens up opportunities that were once only afforded by using expensive kit. Now anyone can improve their home environment with connected lighting through user friendly home smart technologies.
However, despite the consumer friendly packaging and helpful videos, are smart bulbs and all the kit that goes with them really accessible for all or still really for the techy enthusiast? As lighting experts let us help you discover the best place to start.
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Smart Lighting is lighting that can be controlled wirelessly, allowing for greater control of your lit environment at an affordable price.
Smart light bulbs fit into normal lights and can be controlled by your voice, through tablet and mobile apps and dedicated wireless switches. You can control the brightness, set up pre-determined combinations of output from a group of bulbs and choose from a huge array of colors when using smart lighting color changing bulbs.
Anything that helps you create better lit rooms in your home will benefit your health, both mentally and now proven actually physically as we understand that our bodies are intrinsically linked with our illuminated world.
Smart lighting could be mistaken as a bit of fun and a convenience tool so you do not have to reach for the light switch, but used with purpose and design smart lighting opens up incredible opportunities and will become an indispensable tool in your home.
The cost of how much you invest into smart lighting will depend on where you find value. Smart Lighting as a residential consumer product scales from simple light bulb control to integrating a whole home onto the internet, both without the need for an electrician.
What smart lighting does that is priceless, is open up a dimension to home life that is still new to most people. Talking to your lighting system to trigger your favourite colors and levels of lighting to watch a movie or to dine in is not only convenient and fun but instantly accesses the past investment of time to find what works best for you, at no more than a breath.
All smart lights use LED as the source of light which has excellent energy efficiency and longer lifetimes than incandescent and halogen lights. However, not all LED lights last the same length of time and budget products will work the LEDs harder to maximise output but compromise longevity.
Retail smart lighting has been designed to not need a specialist installer, revolutionising lighting design and opening up possibilities that were once only afforded to the few.
The simplest combination is to replace a standard light bulb for a smart bulb and connect directly to a hand held battery powered controller. No internet connection or app required. The entry level option great for kids bedrooms or running small groups of light bulbs in one room.
Some smart bulbs can be linked directly to a dedicated app on an android or apple device using bluetooth, omitting the need for a hub or bridge to connect them together.
There are more smart lighting fixtures than just smart light bulbs, and they all can be linked to a wifi network using a bridge/hub/gateway. Each light fixture is then IP addressed so fully controllable through an app or through a voice controlled bluetooth device that shares the same wifi network or indeed from anywhere in the world there is access to the internet.
Smart lighting has crept into all the popular forms of lighting product including:
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If a low cost stand alone solution is where you want to begin then try a entry level all in one solution with either an smart bulb or LED stripBudget
The entry level budget choice to control LED strip from a hand held device or through an app via wifi or bluetooth.
Romwish – Smart LED Strip 5M(16.4Ft), RGB SMD 5050 Bluetooth Music Sync Smart Color Changing Rope Lights, 44 Keys RF Remote Control, Timing Function,with for Kitchen, Bedroom, TV, Party
This low cost option offers a direct connection to the hand held controller and lamp. No wifi or bluetooth device required so ideal for rooms without a wifi signal or a child’s bedroom where they have control without requiring access to a tablet or phone.
Colour Changing Bulb B22 10W Dimmable, RGBW LED Light Bulbs Mood Lighting with 21key Remote Control
Smart lights sound appealing but what exactly can they do? Maximise their potential by asking these questions and see how some of the features can be used in your home.
These are some of the features offered by various types of Smart Light solution and updates are ever increasing their potential.
Smart lighting is know predominantly as an easy to set up color changing lighting system, where one bulb can create a huge array of colors. However, budget light bulbs may only have a preset range of specific color choices so check before you buy.
White is a color of light of course but not created very well using the standard color changing bulbs. If you want to have a good quality white light and a wide range of colors from the same smart bulb then it must have a specific LED chip in them dedicated to white light. Look out for RGBW.
There is a difference in a smart light bulb and a predesigned smart light fixture.
A smart light bulb is used to replace a standard light bulb so smart lighting can be introduced into an existing light fitting, whereas a smart LED strip will be installed into the interior of the room or within furniture and a smart light fitting will be a complete solution.
Yes, choose either smart lights that link directly to a controller or to an app using bluetooth.
A normal lighting circuit that simply switches power off and on is compatible with smart bulbs and smart lighting by releasing power to them or stopping it. That’s it.
A normal lighting circuit that has a dimmer on it will most likely still work when the dimmer is turned to full, but when the power is reduced it is unlikely to work. The dim to the smart lighting must come from a compatible controller.
A smart lighting switch is available from some manufacturer’s to allow for wall mounted control. This is suitable to replace a normal circuit to the lighting if the wall switch only controls that lighting circuit, but it is not possible to mix standard circuits with smart circuits on the same wall plate.
Yes, there are ranges of correctly IP rated lighting ready for connection to a smart lighting system, however they will usually require a wifi signal.
Andrew Orange , the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.