They’re the first thing you switch on when you get home, and the last thing you turn off as you get into bed, but you only really notice them when they stop working. Without them the electrification of the western world would still have happened, but at a much slower rate. Outwardly their design has changed very little, but the technology that goes into a lightbulb has changed radically, so why do you need to invest in Smart lights?
Edison and Swan invented the incandescent light bulb at almost exactly the same time, but Edison saw that to get electricity into every home he’d have to make it all the more practical, which is why he still holds the record for the most patents registered: all these labour saving devices meant mains electricity wasn’t a fad or a luxury, it was a necessity.
Underneath the outward appearance, today’s lightbulbs have very little in common with the filaments of Edison and Swan’s day.
With the introduction of Smart technology into the hum-drum lightbulb we are now presented with a piece of technology which serves a vast number of roles effortlessly. But because you’re probably used to traditional lights, the advantages of a Smart light may not be immediately obvious.
Because they’re LED they’re more efficient and have a much longer life than coiled coil bulbs, meaning that although the outlay per bulb is more, they end up paying for themselves in energy efficiency and replacement savings after a couple of years.
You can buy plain white light bulbs, or you can choose to have multicoloured lights which can be used to enhance a mood, or augment your TV viewing experience if you use them as an alternative to backlights.
Control Smart Lights Via App, Phone, Tablet, Voice, Or Wall Panel
Smart light bulbs can be dimmed either by voice or via the app, or they can get brighter and darker automatically. It’s nice to wake up with a gentle light which increases, imitating sunrise, and there are a variety of alarm clocks which use this approximation of dawn as their USP. However, consider the other hand. Many people are complaining these days that they’re not able to get to sleep after using phones and tablets before bed because of the amount of blue light they emit. Blue light stimulates the pituitary and makes the brain react as if it were day time. A light that you turn on which then gets dimmer as the night progresses imitates sunset and tells your pineal gland to secrete melatonin, making you drowsy.
Being able to control all the lights throughout the house from a phone isn’t just power saving, it saves your effort too! No more sitting down and having to get up again because you forgot to turn the light in the kitchen off, or if you like to go to sleep with a light on, make it go off simply over the phone. Or if you wake in the middle of the night, tell the lights to come on without getting out of your warm bed.
Seamlessly Incorporates Into Your Home Security System
Smart lights can also be linked to your home security CCTV and motion detection network. You have the option of using infra-red light to get better quality night vision images, set the lights to come on in the house if someone comes onto your property, giving the impression that someone is not only in, but aware that there are visitors. Or they can simply come on in the porch in exactly the same way as a security light, warning intruders off and lighting up your entrance when you come home after dark so you can easily find your keys when you get to the front door.
Naturally you can also set them to come on and go off at intervals when you’re away from home too.
Smart light bulbs don’t work via the switch on the wall. You can replace the switch with a panel which gives you all the controls you usually get via the app, and more. So you can talk to it, tap it, slide your finger up and down to control brightness or side to side to manage the colour of light you get. Naturally, because it’s Smart you can upgrade from a control panel which simply controls the lights to one which controls all of your connected environmental controls, such as heat and AC, as well as the rest of the IoT devices connected to your home network. Different brands have different specifications, so you have control panels which have options for touch control, light sensors, mics and cameras.
Minor Security Issues Are Easily Fixed With A Password, Or A Hammer!
After data breaches a few years ago, Smart lightbulb manufacturers now make it far easier to secure your bulbs so they can’t be used to gain access to your home network. Apply a strong password and you’ll be fine. But remember that if a bulb breaks, you may want to destroy the data processing elements within its construction. The chips have the potential to retain information such as passwords, and network data that could be exploited. It’s unlikely that a tech-savvy criminal will be rifling your bins on the day you throw a damaged light bulb in the recycling, but a simple data wipe, or, much simpler, give it a firm sharp tap or five with a hammer, will put your mind at rest.
So if you’re new to Smart home technology, have a Smart Speaker and don’t really know what to do with it or you’re up to speed and want to make your home as functional and energy efficient as possible then Smart lightbulbs are a brilliant addition.