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After smartphones, smart speakers and smart TVs, new-age home buyers can now choose from several ‘smart lighting’ options in the market. These lighting systems can be controlled through voice commands, gestures, mobile apps or even remotes. The idea, is to enable the user to control the lighting easily and at the same time, reduce the power consumption by minimising cases of lights being left switched on, when nobody is in the room.
What is a smart lighting system?
Smart lighting can be of two types, smart bulbs and smart switches. You can plug in smart bulbs into your existing light fittings and you can use these to dim the lights, or alter the colour and warmth. Some of these can be controlled through mobile apps. This app enables you to regulate the brightness of the bulbs. If these are coloured bulbs, you can change their colours, too. You can also save these settings for different times of the day or activity you are doing. For example, you can have a set lighting mood for dinner time and another for watching movies and yet another for reading. You can change all these moods using your mobile app. You can also control the lighting using voice-activated speakers or personal assistants.
On the other hand, smart lights switches can actually replace your existing switches which you can also control through remote. You will not need to change your existing lights but you would be able to use only limited features such as dimming or colour alteration.
How does smart lighting work?
Usually, all smart lighting systems use mesh networking, where all smart bulbs are connected to each another. This network is controlled by a hub, which is plugged into your router which can be paired with other networked devices, such as phone or tablet to communicate with your bulbs. Some systems also allow you to control the lightings when you are away from home, as not all systems require a hub. You can also add additional accessories and items to modify your light settings, such as dimmer switches or motion detectors. Some modern lighting systems also allow the users to create complex rules that can trigger particular lighting settings for particular things. In fact, an instant message notification on your smart phone can trigger a flash of fancy colours.
These days smart lights can be also controlled easily with smart speakers including Amazon’s Echo, Google Home and Apple’s Homekit. You can use these voice assistants that will use your voice commands, to relay the information to your smart lighting network. Users should know that most of the smart light apps are compatible with iOS and Android only. Window mobile users might have to use alternate devices or wait for the time being.
How much does it cost to install a smart lighting system at home?
If you are planning to switch to smart lighting, to save on electricity consumption, you may be disappointed. However, setting up smart lighting system has become cheaper over the years. A decent nine-Watt bulb of a good brand will cost you around Rs 600 – Rs 900, depending on the features and functions. Similarly, a smart plug socket will cost you around Rs 900 – Rs 1,100, depending upon the brand and features you wish to have. If you wish to replace all your existing lights with smart bulbs, it may cost you in range of Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000, as you will have to create a single hub which will be connected to your devices.
Is smart lighting worth it?
The preference for smart lighting is subjective. If you are cost-conscious, non-smart LEDs will be more efficient, since you would be able to avoid significant upfront expenses for installation. However, if you feel experience is way more important than the cost, smart lighting is worth having. Smart light strips, bulbs and spotlights can completely transform the ambience. You can save light settings, also called recipes, for different rooms, events or activities. Smart lights with voice activation gives you a futuristic home, which can make your living experience more fun, especially if you have kids at home who would enjoy different kinds of mood lighting.
What can smart lights do?
Smart lights are one of the features of home automation, through which you can control the lighting system using any smart device.
Does smart lighting use more electricity?
Smart lighting consumes electricity even when switched off, because it is connected via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
How long do smart lights last?
Usually, a smart LED light bulb lasts between 15,000 and 25,000 hours.
Do smart bulbs work without Wi-Fi?
Some smart bulbs work even without an internet connection if you are not trying to control them.