If you are interested in smart home tech, but you aren’t sure where or how to get started, you might want to take a closer look at smart lighting. Not only is smart lighting relatively inexpensive, but it is easy to use and will help you to get your feet wet with smart home technology.
What is Smart Lighting?
Smart lighting is lighting that is connected to the Internet so you can control it with an app or with a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. With these apps, you can use Amazon, Apple or Google smart devices to control your lighting in ways that go beyond simply turning your lights on and off. Rather, you can dim your lights with the technology or you can control factors such as timing, color and color temperatures. You can even program your lighting to match your activity or mood.
To get started with smart lighting, you will first need to purchase a smart LED bulb. Smart LED light bulbs are available in dimmable white as well as multi-color varieties. Since they work directly with your Wi-Fi router, all you need is the bulb, a lamp to plug it into and the app needed to control the bulb.
For additional flexibility, consider getting a smart lighting starter kit with multiple bulbs. This offers greater coverage around the home while also giving you an Internet-connected hub to give the bulbs their smart features.
Exploring Your Options
There are many smart light options available on the market. Among these are the smart lighting systems available from Philips Hue, which offers White, White Ambiance and White and Color Ambiance varieties. The White Ambiance kit allows you to change the color temperature from bright, white light to a soft, warm light while White and Color Ambience does the same while offering the additional option of color. Each of the kits comes with four bulbs and the Hue Bridge hub. Samsung SmartThings and Wink also offer bundles that come complete with hubs capable of connecting to compatible smart home devices, such as thermostats and doorbells.
Ikea also offers its Tradfri smart lighting collection, which features a larger Gateway starter kit. This kit includes two bulbs, a remote control and a hub that makes the bulbs controllable via an app. An upcoming update to the product will add compatibility with voice-controlled smart devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod.
While purchasing a product with a hub is not required for smart lighting, these hubs set you up for potentially expanding your smart home set up in the future. In addition to allowing you to control many bulbs at once, they are capable of incorporating compatible accessories such as motion sensors or using voice control systems.
Using a Smart Plug
If you don’t want to bother with replacing a bulb and you don’t want to invest in a whole system, you might want to consider buying a smart plug instead. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs allow you to turn anything into a smart, remote-controllable product by simply plugging them in.