When you think about it, lighting your home is pretty basic. With the flip of a switch, you turn the lights on or off. While this no-frills way of controlling your lights has been the go-to for decades, smart lighting is changing the way people manage their lights.
Smart lighting takes your home’s lights from basic to advanced, allowing you to turn your lights on from anywhere, control your lights with your voice, or connect them to your entire smart home system. In short, smart lighting
Whether you’re in the market for a smart lighting system or just want to know what smart lighting can do in your home, this guide can help.
What is smart lighting?
Smart lighting uses smart home technology that lets you automate and remotely control your home’s lights. By replacing traditional light bulbs with WiFi-connected smart bulbs, smart lighting provides a more convenient and energy-efficient way to control your home’s lights.
With traditional lighting, you turn your lights on and off with a switch on the wall or on a lamp. With smart lighting, you can use an app on your phone or set lights to turn on and off automatically. This allows you to control your lights from anywhere and provides more options than simply “on” and “off.”
Sure, smart lighting is cool to have. But there are practical benefits to having it in your home as well, including:
Convenience. Upgrading your home with smart lighting makes it convenient to manage your lights. With hands-free control, you can turn lights on and off with your voice—perfect for when your hands are full or you aren’t near a light switch. Or, you can turn your lights on or off with your phone, which is particularly convenient when you’re in another room (or even state!)
Safety/security. Smart lighting can also enhance the overall security and safety of your home. In one survey of burglars, many of them stated that well-lit homes were a deterrent and even recommended ensuring lighting was on in your home to help avoid burglaries. Being able to control your lights remotely or schedule certain lights to turn on or off when you’re away can help improve your home’s security.
Energy savings. Smart lighting can help you save energy in different ways. Most of us have left to run errands or gone to work without turning all the lights off in the house, which is a waste of energy. Or, maybe you’ve purposely left a few lights on day and night while you’re out of town. With smart lighting, custom schedules let you automate lighting, and remote control allows you to turn off any lights you forgot about. Smart lights also use LED lightbulbs, which use up to 75% less energy and last 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs.
What can you do with smart lighting?
With smart lighting, there’s much more you can do with your lights than just turn them on and off.
Customize your lighting
With a smart lighting system, you can create custom room groups—such as “bedrooms,” “downstairs lights,” or “hallway”—for easier control. For example, you can create a group of hallway lights and turn them on at night for your kids after they go to bed.
Another way to customize your lighting is to create schedules based on your habits. For example, set your bedroom lights to turn on automatically in the morning to help you wake up naturally. Or, create different room groups and schedule them to turn on and off at certain times while you’re out of town to keep your home well-lit.
You can also customize your lights’ brightness. For example, maybe you want softer, dimmed lighting in the dining room or bright lights in the kitchen.
Decorate for the holidays
Feeling festive? Smart lighting can also help you up your holiday lighting game and set a fun and festive mood. Here are a few ideas:
Halloween smart lighting
Swap your porch bulbs out for colored bulbs, like orange or purple, and let trick-or-treaters know you’re ready for them
Use dimmers and various bulb colors to set the stage for your haunted house without having to install dimmer switches
Dress up your windows with jack-o-lanterns, poseable skeletons, or other decorations and spotlight them with your smart lighting
Going out of town for the holidays? You can make sure your holiday lights still operate seamlessly with remote control
Highlight your décor by matching your lighting with your Christmas color palette—whether it’s traditional red and green, trendy pink and silver, or a modern blue.
Getting started with smart lighting
It’s actually quite simple to get started with smart lighting, and unlike other smart home devices, the cost to get started is affordable. Here’s what you need:
Smart light bulbs
Smart light bulbs are the foundation for your smart lighting system. The light bulb connects with your home’s WiFi and other smart bulbs throughout the house, allowing you to control them via an app.
While you can use smart light bulbs alone, if you want to implement smart lighting through your entire house, hub or bridge-controlled smart lights are the way to go. The hub, or bridge, acts as the brains of your smart light system. The smart bulbs connect with the hub, which then tells the bulbs what to do based on the schedule you set or the commands you give.
A hub or bridge also allows you to connect more lights and accessories. With Phillips Hue, for example, you can connect up to 50 bulbs and accessories with the Hue bridge, including Amazon Echo or Google Home for voice control.
One of the biggest benefits of smart light bulbs is that you don’t need to retrofit your entire home to use them. They can be installed in almost any existing lamp or fixture throughout your home. This includes recessed lights and outdoor lights, too.
Smart plugs turn your existing lamps and small appliances into smart devices you can control remotely with your smart home or lighting app. These small plugs are inserted into existing outlets. From there, you can plug lamps, holiday lights, and small appliances directly into the smart plug.
Smart plugs also allow you to integrate your lighting devices with your smart speakers for voice control. For example, smart plugs are how you can turn your Christmas tree lights on and off with just your voice.
Smart plugs can also integrate with your existing smart home system, so you can connect your lights and devices and then set rules to have your lights turn on and off in specific scenarios. For example, you can set your entry table lamp to turn on when you unlock your front door, lighting the way for you when you come home.
Controlling your smart lighting
You can always turn your lights on and off manually with a light switch. But with smart lighting, you can control your lights in other, more convenient ways as well, such as voice control and automation. Take a look:
Smart lighting automation
Automating your smart lights makes it easy to keep your home well-lit without wasting energy in the process. This is where custom schedules come in. You can set up specific schedules in your app. A few ways you can automate your lighting include:
Creating a wake-up routine that turns your lights on when your alarm goes off in the morning
Automatically turning hall lights or night lights on at night
Set specific lights to turn off after a certain amount of time has passed
Add randomness to your lighting patterns to naturally make it look like people are home
With your Smart Home App, you can control your lights from anywhere with your smartphone, whether you’re out of town, away at work, or just in a different room. So if you’re already in bed and realize you forgot to turn off the kitchen lights, you can just grab your phone and turn them off.
If you have a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can pair them with your smart lighting. Turning your lights on and off is as telling Alexa what to do. This also makes it easy to accommodate people with mobility issues.
You can install a smart lighting system that works by itself simply by adding smart light bulbs and a bridge. You can get more out of your smart lighting, however, if you have a smart home system.
When part of a complete smart home like Vivint, smart lighting integrates with other smart home devices and systems. Take a look at a few of the things you can do:
Set your entryway lights to turn on automatically when you unlock your front door or disarm your security system
Create a rule that turns on exterior lights when your outdoor camera detects motion
Turn lights inside the house off when you arm your security system from your phone
One-touch locking that turns off lights, arms your security system, and locks the front door when you lock your front door smart lock
If you’re looking for a simple, cost-effective way to implement smart home technology into your home, or you want the convenience that comes from controlling your lights wherever you are, smart lighting is a great option for any home.
Get started with smart lighting today
Ready to make the switch to smarter lighting? Contact a Vivint Pro today for a free quote at 855.822.1220.
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