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What Are Smart Light Bulbs?

Jan 23, 2024|

If you want to add automation to your home but aren’t sure where to start, smart lighting is a great first step.

When part of your smart home, smart light bulbs offer many benefits, from convenience to cost savings to added security. Best of all, implementing smart lighting is simple—and it all starts with smart light bulbs.

What are smart light bulbs?

Smart light bulbs are the foundation of a smart home lighting system. Smart light bulbs are wi-fi powered light bulbs that allow you to customize, automate, and remote control your lighting.

An integral part of a smart home system, smart LED bulbs are similar to traditional light bulbs in that they are screwed into the light socket of a lamp or lighting fixture. Unlike traditional bulbs, however, smart lights bulbs aren’t limited to flipping a wall switch to turn the lights on and off. You can turn your lights off with your phone from your smartphone app or smart home hub, automate them, or schedule them to turn on and off at specific times or after certain events.

The light bulbs’ connection to your smart phone and other smart home devices is what differentiates them from traditional light bulbs. Smart bulbs connect to your smart home technology system via wi-fi, bluetooth, or other smart home protocol, which allows them to communicate with other devices.

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Types of smart bulbs

There are multiple types of smart bulbs, depending on how you plan to connect them to your smart home network. Some of the most common include:

  • Wi-Fi enabled. These bulbs connect directly to your home's Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control them using a dedicated app on your smartphone. There are many brands of Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs that are compatible with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Home.
  • Bluetooth bulbs connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology. While they offer a more limited range when compared to Wi-Fi bulbs, they tend to be more affordable and don't require a hub for connectivity. This makes them a great choice for small spaces.
  • Zigbee/Z-Wave bulbs: These bulbs use Zigbee or Z-Wave communication protocols and require a hub or bridge to connect to your home network. This is a great option if you already have a smart home as it provides a reliable network for controlling multiple smart home devices.
  • Color-changing. Many smart bulbs are tunable, meaning they go beyond your standard white bulb and can also change colors as well as color temperature, allowing you to create a custom lighting environment to suit your mood or occasion. You can choose from many colors and, depending on the program and brand, sync your lights with music or movies.
  • Dimmable smart bulbs let you adjust the brightness level to your liking right from your phone—no dimmer switch required. This not only sets the right mood but also saves energy when full brightness is not needed.

Often, you can get more than one feature in a single bulb; for example, many wi-fi enabled bulbs also have color change or dimming features.

Man installing a Vivint smart light bulb in his lamp.
 

Smart light bulb benefits

Smart bulbs offer a number of benefits for your home, including:

  • Energy efficiency. One of the biggest advantages of smart light bulbs is their energy efficiency. Because they use LED technology, they consume significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. When part of your smart home, smart bulbs also allow you to schedule lighting changes and set timers, ensuring that lights are only on when needed.
  • Convenience. With smart light bulbs, you can control your lighting from anywhere using your smartphone or voice commands if your’e in range of your voice assistant. This means you can turn off lights you accidentally left on without getting out of bed, or turn your lights on from a completely different location via your phone.
  • Security. Burglars are more likely to pass over a well-lit home. Not only does lighting call more attention to them, but it also suggests that someone is home. With smart bulbs, you can create lighting schedules to simulate your presence when you're away, enhancing your home's security.
  • Personalization. Smart bulbs offer more customization options than traditional light bulbs. You can choose the bulb color, brightness, and even create color ambiance or lighting scenes for different occasions, from holiday parties to romantic dinners.
  • Smart home integration. Smart bulbs seamlessly integrate with other smart devices in your home, including security cameras and voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant. They can be part of routines or automation sequences; for example, you can set your entry lights to turn on when you unlock your front door.
  • Scheduling. You can also schedule different lights to turn on and off at different times, allowing you to “set it and forget it.”
  • Longevity. LED light bulbs have a longer lifespan compared to incandescent bulbs, reducing the frequency of replacements and saving you money in the long run. In fact, depending on how you use your lights, LED bulbs can last up to 20 years!

What can you do with smart light bulbs?

Smart lighting means you can do so much more than light up a room. Some of the cool things you can do with smart lighting include:

  • Automate your lighting. Automation makes it easy to keep your home well-lit and secure while saving energy at the same time. There are tons of different home automation options for smart lights. You can automate your lighting by setting lights to turn off after a specific amount of time has passed, create routines that turn on lights when your alarm goes off in the morning, or automatically turn on hall lights at night.
  • Customize your lighting for holidays or special events. Smart bulbs let you go beyond plain white lights. Many smart lights have access to the full color spectrum, allowing you to change color and brightness to suit specific holidays or events.
  • Create room groups. With some smart lighting systems, you can create room groups—such as downstairs lights, bedrooms, or basement—and control them together from your app. No more going from room to room every night to turn off lights.
  • Motion activation. Many smart bulbs are equipped with motion sensors, allowing them to turn on or off when motion is detected. This not only provides added security to your home, but also helps you save energy; if no one is detected in a room, the lights will turn off automatically.
  • Adjust brightness. Dimmable smart bulbs allow you to adjust the brightness of your smart bulbs from your smartphone app, helping you create softer or brighter lights right from your phone.

These are just a few of the most common things you can do with your smart lighting. The features of your smart bulbs will also depend on your smart home’s functionality and devices.

Couple in their kitchen looking at smart lighting settings on their phone.
 

Integration with your smart home

A smart home provides the ability to completely customize how you interact with your home, including your lighting.

When part of a smart home ecosystem like Vivint, your smart lighting can also integrate with various smart home devices. Take a look at a few of the ways you can integrate your smart bulbs with the rest of your smart home:

  • Set your entry lights to turn on automatically when you unlock your front door or disarm your security system.
  • Turn lights in the house off when you arm your security system from your smartphone app.
  • Pair your smart lights with your Amazon Echo, Apple Siri, or other smart speaker and use voice commands to turn lights on and off or dim them.
  • Pair your lighting with your devices’ Smart Deter feature for a safer home; when the camera detects a person, it activates your specified lights.
  • Activate Away Lighting to randomize lighting patterns in the home and making it appear as though someone is home.

Vivint also integrates with Philips Hue light bulbs, allowing you to connect your existing system to Vivint.

Getting started with Vivint Smart Lighting

Smart lighting with Vivint is simpler than you might think.

A Vivint Smart Lighting system includes three main components:

  • Smart Switch that fits over the existing light switches in your home. Available with 1, 2, or 3 buttons, the Smart Switch gives you the flexibility to manually control your lights from the wall or from your Smart Home App, Smart Hub, or voice assistant.
  • Smart Light Bulbs that replace existing light bulbs in your home to integrate with the rest of your smart home and smart lighting system. Choose from standard, recessed, or flood bulbs. These long-lasting LED bulbs provide up to 15,000 hours of lighting.
  • Smart Lighting Bridge is the brains of your lighting system. It connects your Smart Switches and Smart Bulbs, enabling them to communicate with each other and the rest of your smart home.

One of the best things about the Vivint Smart Lighting System is the ease of installation. Transforming your home into a smart lighting experience doesn’t require rewiring, an electrician, or complicated steps; you simply install the Smart Switch over your current switches, replace light bulbs with smart bulbs, and connect your Smart Lighting Bridge to your router.

Vivint Smart Light Switch installed on a wall.
 

Smart bulbs make a smarter, safer home

Smart lighting is a must for any smart home, making it a safer, more convenient place for your entire family. And with Vivint, implementing smart lighting in your home is easier than ever.

Want to learn more? Start designing your smart lighting system today and see for yourself how Vivint’s smart lighting can transform your home. Call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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