A guide to getting started with smart lighting: When to use smart switches and smart bulbs – The Verge
Smart lighting is the most important innovation in lighting since the invention of the lightbulb. It adds so much functionality to such a key part of our lives, elevating the concept of lighting our homes beyond just the utilitarian.
But smart lighting is something you have to experience to really understand its benefits. To many people, it just seems complicated, fiddly, expensive, and way too hard compared to screwing in a “dumb” lightbulb. Here, I’ll explain why and how to get started with smart lighting, how and when to decide between smart bulbs and smart switches, and explore some good options for each.
Philips Hue’s line of smart bulbs and light fixtures can add some color to your life.
Image: Philips Hue
The benefits of smart lighting
Smart lighting is when your lights are controllable remotely using a wireless connection and a smartphone app. You can set timers for your lights and create schedules or routines to turn them on and off at a set time or based on specific actions. You can sync your lights with sunrise and sunset, dim or change their color, control groups of lights on more than one circuit simultaneously, and have lights turn on and off automatically based on motion and / or occupancy. You can also control the lights using voice commands or with programmable wireless buttons and remotes.
Syncing your lights to the color of the sun can help you feel more energized
Smart lighting has a lot of great uses, here are just a few:
- Security and safety — Never come home to a dark house again; set lights to turn on randomly while you’re away to deter miscreants. Use motion sensors to trigger outdoor lights at night without any wiring.
- Convenience — If you often fall asleep with the bedside light on, it can shut off automatically. At night a single command or schedule can turn everything off, then back on again in the morning. Motion sensors turn lights on automatically when you walk in a room and then off when you’re gone.
- Health and wellness — Waking up to a gently increasing light is less jarring than an alarm and actually works. Syncing your lights to the color of the sun throughout the day has been shown to help you feel more energized when you need to and start to wind down when it’s time. Color-changing bulbs are fun for parties and events but also useful as a notification. For example, Philips Hue lights can be set to turn blue if it’s raining outside or red if you just got an email from your boss, through the IFTTT service.
The skinny on smart switches versus smart bulbs
There are two categories of smart lighting: smart bulbs and smart switches. You do not have to pick one over the other. In fact, the most effective smart lighting setup in a home will likely be a mix of smart bulbs and smart switches (though …….
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