Global indications show that smart homes are getting more and more popular. Smart gadgets are not just the thing that tech geeks have, they are now popular products found in most modern households. In fact, if you have an Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick or a smart phone, you are well on your way to having a Smart Home.
While the term Smart Home seems overwhelming to most, it is in fact quite simple and the best way to start with a Smart Home in Inverness is to start with the lights.
So what is smart lighting?
Smart lighting is a lighting technology designed for energy efficiency and simplicity.
For decades, the lights in your home have been controlled by a simplelight switch. Flip the switch and the light goes on, flip it the other way and the light goes off. We then started to get clever and in 1961 Joel Spira patented the dimming switch gave us the ability to control the brightness in a room. Between 1961 and 2010, this was smart!
Fast forward to 2019 and we are able to do so much more. While the fundamentals of lighting haven’t changed (i.e. light on, light off, dimmer, brighter etc), we are now able to light our homes in a far more advanced way. Smart lighting eliminates the need for traditional wall switches by introducing software into the Smart LED bulbs that connects to an app, smart home assistant, or other smart accessory so you can automate your lights or control them remotely. We now have bulbs that are far more energy efficient and can emit light in 16 million colours.
Smart lighting gives you far more control over your lights. They are still connected to your home’s power, but each smart bulb allows you to control it wirelessly with your smartphone, tablet, or smart assistant, such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. You can set schedules, lighting scenes, routines and so much more. Lighting your home can now be as easy as “Hey Google, switch on the lights in the kitchen” or “Alexa, turn off all the lights upstairs”.
Examples of what you can do with your smart lighting:
- Switch off your all the lights when you leave home.
- Set a routine to switch on your bedroom light (in fully dimmed state) when you say “Hey Google, good morning.”
- Set a routine to switch off all lights when you say “Hey Google, good night.”
- Place a motion sensor in the bathroom to switch on the light automatically when a person walks into the bathroom between sunset and sunrise.
- Do you think you’ve left your lights on at home? No problem just go to the app in your mobile phone and switch the lights off.
- Switch the lights on at home if it is dark and you are close to home.
- Switch off the lights once you’re a certain distance away from your home or switch them back on when it detects you’re approaching.
What are the benefits of Smart lighting
Smart lights is not just about controlling your lights automatically or remotely — there are so many, less obvious, benefits to installing to smart lighting in your Smart Home.
Traditionally, if you wanted to dim the lights in your home you needed to wire a dimmer switch into your wall. Well not anymore. Smart lights such as the Philips Hue range can be controlled via the app or via one of the above mentioned Smart Assistants as well as the Philips Hue Smart Wireless Dimmer Switch. Any smart bulb can be dimmed in any room in a multiple of ways…
Smart LED bulbs are far more energy efficient than conventional bulbs. 95% of the power we put into an incandescent lamp is converted into heat which not only wastes energy but also reduces the lifespan of the bulb. The dimmable Smart bulbs also save energy by reducing the flow of electricity to the bulb and allowing lights to operate with lower power outputs (when dimmed). Since lights under less stress shine longer.
Bright idea: Set your smart lights to switch on at 50% brightness and increase the light when needed. This will save on your electricity bill and also prolong the lifespan of your smart bulbs
The beauty of a smart lighting system such as the Philips Hue connects and is operated via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi/Internet. This not only gives you a number of cool ways to control your lighting but also gives you a failsafe if your Wifi drops or your phone is dead. You could also just go retro and use a light switch if all technology in your smart home is down.
Being able to connect with your phone via an app is an added benefit and enables you to control your lights from anywhere in the world
Bright idea: Since your lights are controlled via an app, you can see their status from anywhere. Never ask, “Did I leave the light on?” again!
Automation is where smart lighting comes into its own. Smart LED bulbs can be configured individually or as a group and you can set timers and routines for practically any task you can think of. With additional accessories such as motion sensors you can switch on/off lights automatically when a person enters and leaves a room. And with technology such as IFTTT (If This, Then That) you can create automation schedules that you couldn’t even dream of 10 years ago. Such as “Switch bedroom lamp on and dim to 2% when my Fitbit senses I am awake and then increase to 100% over 15 minutes” Now that’s a pleasant way to wake up.
Bright idea: Next time you’re away on holiday set a routine for your lights to mimic your usual routine at home.
Instant mood lighting
Another great feature of Smart Lighting is the ability to preset multiple customised light scenes to create ambiance for any occasion. Whether its waking up to a soft glow or warm lighting in the living room when you have guests, you don’t need to set the lights each time you switch them on, you just select the scene and you’re good to go. Perhaps you have a little one in the house, now you have the perfect night light. At bedtime just say “Hey Google, switch on baby’s bedtime light” and on the light goes to 5% brightness.
Who would have thought that lighting could be so much fun & convenient.
You may never have thought that you could improve your home lighting experience — but with smart lighting, you can. With just the touch of a button, you can automate your home lighting, control your lights with your app or voice, or set routines to make it look you’re home even if you’re not. With smart lighting, anything is possible!
If this sounds like something you must have in your home, give me a call to talk through the options available to you.
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