Benefits Of Smart Light Bulbs
Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by Gabriel Goddy
Smart light bulbs are beneficial to every homeowner out there. Though not so common, is a great appliance, and in this guide, you’ll see just how important and beneficial they are.
What is smart lighting?
Smart lighting is lighting that you can control from an app, usually on your Apple or Android phone.
The app enables you to change the brightness of the bulbs, and if the bulbs have colored LEDs you can change their colors too. That opens up a whole world of possibilities, which you might call light recipes: you might have one light recipe for watching movies, another for dinnertime, and yet another for reading. Switching from one recipe to another is as simple as tapping a smartphone or yelling at your favorite voice-activated personal assistant.
What Is A Smart Light Bulb?
A smart bulb is an internet-capable LED light bulb that allows lighting to be customized, scheduled, and controlled remotely. Smart bulbs are among the most immediately successful offerings in the growing category of home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) products.
With the integration of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, or a proprietary connection for home automation systems, smart bulbs can be controlled through a mobile app or a home/building automation hub and individual bulbs can be programmed to change output in a specific manner.
The bulb’s internet connectivity makes it possible for vendors to use edge computing and equip smart bulbs with additional features like built-in cameras, built-in speakers, and presence-sensing capability. Many types of smart bulbs enable the home or building manager to control brightness as well as RBG color.
As with all IoT products, smart bulbs can become an attack vector. This was demonstrated when researchers from security consultancy Context were able to gain a network’s password at a 30-meter distance from the targeted smart bulb.
Smart bulbs and smart lighting systems aren’t just about impressing your friends with your tech-savviness at the next dinner party. They give you the freedom to control the light and atmosphere in each room, transforming your home into a more ideal environment to live, work, and relax in.
How Do They Work?
A smart bulb also works as a regular, standard bulb. But for it to work you need a smartphone, a tablet, or a mobile device of some kind. In most cases, you will require a home automation hub that will allow you to operate the smart bulb wirelessly. Most home automation hubs use communication standards like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or ZigBee. The automation hub can then be connected to an app on your mobile device, tablet, or PC.
A few brands may also require you to invest in a special gateway to get the best wireless use. This is typically a separate box that needs to be bought separately and which can communicate with the smart bulb and give it commands. For example, the Philips smart bulbs typically work with Philips Hue Bridge. Other brands like KASA require you to invest in Smart Bridge, which enables you to use their line of switches and other smart devices.
Things To Know Before Buying
There are several ways in which you can connect to your smart bulb. But it is important to remember that you can access or control the smart bulb even when you are away from home only if you are connected to it through a home automation system.
If you choose to control the bulb through Bluetooth, you can only control it within the Bluetooth range. The further you move, the weaker the connection gets. Similarly, if are controlling the device through your Wi-Fi connection, its performance may also get affected by how many other devices are connected to the network. If there are too many devices stretching the Wi-Fi’s bandwidth, the performance of the smart bulb will be affected. If the internet stops working for some reason, the smart bulbs also will lose connection.
It is only with a Z-wave or Zigbee hub that you do not have to rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You can also control the smart bulbs when you are away from home using the certified hubs and any mobile device that has the app.
Smart Bulbs And The Cost
However, smart bulbs may be more expensive than regular, standard bulbs. But in the long term, they are bound to make your home more energy-efficient. The long-term costs of using a smart bulb may even out the initial cost as they do manage to conserve more electricity, especially if you use a CFL or LED bulb. But this may take a while.
Smart bulbs can also last for a long time as compared to standard bulbs. When used efficiently, they can last for anywhere between 15,000 hours to 25,000 hours.
Benefits of Using Smart Lighting
Although it’s fun to play with your light settings with your smartphone, it’s more than just a cool gimmick. Changing out your regular lighting for smart lighting offers several benefits including simplicity, control, and mood setting.
- The Potential To Save Energy
With the power to dim your lights so accessible, it’s even easier to save energy. You can do this manually through the app on your device or you could set up motion sensors. Smart lighting enables the use of motion sensors in every room where either a smart light switch or smart light bulb is installed. When a room is unoccupied, you can instruct the bulbs to shut off and only switch on again when motion is detected in the room. Conserve even more energy when you use LED bulbs. They use less electricity than the average bulb, without sacrificing the brightness or warmth you’ve grown accustomed to.
- Comfortable Convenience
Controlling your smart lighting is simple. You can lay in bed, sit at your desk at work, or even be on your phone on a remote island and still have access to your lighting. Smart lighting also helps those who have mobility issues or live in a home with loud, creaky stairs and light sleepers. You won’t have to physically go from room to room when you forget to turn the lights off. With some bulbs, you’re even able to adjust the brightness, intensity, and hue (with the colored LED smart bulbs) from your device.
- Personalized Scenes For Every Occasion
Get even more control of your rooms with smart lighting “scenes.” These scenes can change the colors subtly but still have an impact. If you’re big into reading (or someone else in your family is), changing the shading of the light could ease eye strain.
But you can also set the scene for your daily routine. When you wake up, you might want to dim the lights to allow your eyes to adjust comfortably. Or as a way to avoid bothering your partner if they have a different schedule. You just have to select the appropriate scene. Or maybe you only want to turn on the lights by the door for when you’re ready to head out.
People also use scenes when taking a business trip or vacationing. If you’re uncomfortable having the lights off for those few days, you can set the lights to turn on periodically so it seems like someone is home. Whatever your routine, you can customize your lights for it.
- Set The Mood With Color
Adjusting the color wasn’t always a smart lighting benefit, but it’s available now when you use LED bulbs. It’s not just a gimmick. Changing colors can help when you’re watching a movie, reading, or ready for a nap. Certain colors can reduce eye strain and improve sleep quality. And that’s not all. Blue lighting may improve your mood, especially during winter months when the cloud cover is impenetrable and the sunlight is scarce.
- Motion detectors.
In some cases, lights can be activated when a sensor detects motion. This is extremely useful for security outside the home, as it exposes anyone skulking around your house late at night. And it can also make things easier when guests go to the bathroom down the hall. It can even alert you when your children sneak out at night, or if they’re walking in their sleep. The sensor can not only turn on the light for the child, but a light can also turn on in your room to notify you if people are walking about the house.
- Add More With Interior Design
You can go to the extra level by using smart lights to decorate your home. You can change the decor and appearance of your rooms at the drop of a hat with smart lighting. For family gatherings, parties, and hangouts with friends, smart lighting makes setting the mood even easier.
You can go a step further by using a smart bulb with speakers built-in. This allows you to listen to your favorite songs in every room they’re installed. Or you can use the songs to complete the look and feel of each room.
If you’re new to home automation, your best option is to start with smart lighting. Basic smart bulbs can be very cheap as long as you don’t need complicated setups.
With your smartphone, you can turn the lights on and off, and get them to activate, dim, blink, or change colors. Now your lights can really brighten up your day!