Smart lights

Smart lighting for your home

Your home's independent light fixtures can now benefit from smart features thanks to smart lights. From floor lamps to hanging ceiling lamps and light strips, smart lights offer a variety of styles to suit your needs.

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What are smart lights?

Smart lights are enhanced versions of your home’s traditional, independent light fixtures. They allow you to personalize, schedule, and remotely control the lighting of your home. Depending on your needs, these fixtures can provide a practical lighting solution for your home or embellish rooms with vibrant multi-colored tones. Smart lights come in a variety of styles, from regular standing lamps and suspension lighting to moody light strips and wall lights. In the world of home automation, smart lighting will allow you to:

  • Set routines
  • Simulate your presence (for increased security)
  • Customize scenes
  • Create unique light effects

How smart lights work - Integrated LEDs and bulb powered lights

For starters, smart lights are app controlled, enabling a multitude of adjustments from your smartphone or tablet. Some of these lights are connected through WiFi, Bluetooth, or Zigbee while others are reliant on a base station or ‘hub.’ This systematizes your smart lights, integrating them into one modular design so lights can be controlled individually or in groups. In terms of light output, smart lights are powered either by bulb or integrated LED. The bulbs usually come in the package or are already installed in the fixture. However, if you need to replace the bulb, a smart bulb will be needed from the specific manufacturer to ensure the functionality isn’t altered. Integrated LED smart lights don’t have bulbs but rather their own, proprietary lighting system built in to the fixture. If this stops working, it can’t be replaced. Fortunately, most manufacturers offer a solid warranty.

Different styles of smart lights

The smart light landscape is vast. There is a myriad of different styles, functions and uses for each. Luckily, most styles are categorized based on usage which helps narrow down choices on your smart light hunt.

Ceiling lighting: Ceiling smart lights provide light from above and are usually the main source of light for a room. Installed into the ceiling, they can be characterized as recessed, pendant or track lighting. First, recessed lighting is typically small and round and sit relatively close to the ceiling. Second, pendant fixtures (hanging fixtures) are generally found above dining tables, countertops, and high ceiling areas (usually over 11 feet). In addition to providing light, they are often a decorative piece in a room’s decor.

Floor and table lights: Smart lights are also found in your regular standing floor lamps as well as helpful table lights. Standing smart floor lamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the manufacturer. They fit nicely into the corner of a room or next to a couch, providing light for nearly any moment. If you don’t have many bulb-powered fixtures in your home, this can be a smart alternative as it is easy to install and moveable. Table lights aren’t much different, but can come as portable, battery-powered fixtures. They're made to sit on a table, bed stand, or desk, providing both ambient and task lighting.

Light strips and wall lights: If you are looking to achieve more ambient, mood lighting, light strips and wall lights allow you to get creative. These unique fixtures can be put in different places to achieve a unique look. Both will come with colors and have customizing options in their respective apps.

Outdoor lights: Smart outdoor lights help to bring new levels of color and ambiance to your yard and patio areas. They're fitted in a variety of different ways to provide outdoor light wherever you need it. Many attach directly to an outside wall, while others act as pathway and step lights. Similarly to other kinds of smart lights, outdoor versions can be controlled remotely on your smartphone via a hub or bridge. Outdoor smart lights are available in white, or a range of color options. Perfect if you're looking to add some party atmosphere to your backyard!

How to install smart lights - adhesive, stand alone, or screwed?

Depending on the style you choose, the installation options will differ. For ceiling lights, expect to screw them into the ceiling for a secure fit. Floor and table lights will mostly stand on their own while light strips and wall lights usually come with an adhesive backing. The adhesive is solid for one-time placement but can lose its effectiveness if reinstalled. Luckily, lights that come with an adhesive backing will include small brackets or holders to keep the lights in place.

Are smart lights safe?

In the realm of home automation and Internet of Things (IoT), security is always necessary to highlight. In relation to smart lights, most fixtures are end-to-end encrypted or, if connected to your WiFi, also protected by your password. Making sure you have a strong WiFi password will be important. However, smart lights can actually play a unique role in your home’s security through presence simulation. By setting these lights to randomize when you are away will help deter potential intruders and onlookers from entering your home. Surprisingly, this strategy can be highly effective and something that is often overlooked when searching for the right smart light.

Are smart lights energy efficient?

Traditional, independent light fixtures are equipped with inefficient bulbs or outdated circuitry. As a result, these will have a poor energy rating, increasing your electricity bill and environmental footprint. In contrast, nearly all smart lights manufacturers look to combat high energy usage, focusing on implementing energy efficient technology. In addition, smart features like scheduling will help keep your lights in check, decreasing the chances of you forgetting to turn your lights off and accidentally leaving them on all day.

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