Years ago to ensure a light turned on of its own accord, you got a hold of a timer switch where each notch was a 15 min slot. This was great but limited to turning on a device or a light during those set times.
Then along came the 7 day digital timers where you could set a device to come on and switch off at different times on a 7 day cycle.
Enter the Smart Home. Right now you can connect lights, plugs, security cameras etc and link them together to allow automation. This could be to turn on your lights when your presence is detected at home or trigger your lights when your camera detects motion. This is where the Internet of Things comes in when you start connecting a Thing (device) to another.
When it comes to Smart Lighting, the market leader is Philips with their Hue range of lights and quite a comprehensive selection too. Products range from standard E27 screw fit, B22 bayonet style, GU10’s (probably your spot lights) and even outdoor lights. All of these can be operated from your mobile phone anywhere in the world (providing you have a wifi connection).
Other Smart Home lighting solutions include the following:
LIFX – https://uk.lifx.com/
TP-Link – https://www.tp-link.com/uk/smarthome/
IKEA Tradfri – https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/lighting/smart-lighting/
So the choice is quite good with other lesser known bulbs also available.
There are advantages and disadvantages but we will let you make your own mind up once you have looked at the products available.
That said, the Philips Hue range and Hue Hub (controller) can control IKEA Tradfri bulbs and other Zigbee standard bulbs. This may be useful to know if you have a lot of spot light GU10’s in various rooms (kitchen / diner or bathroom) as Philips Hue sets you back between £25 and £39.99 for a pair whereas IKEA sell the GU10 for £7 and the warm white for £12. Buying the £7 ones means you can get a lot more for your money. However to get these to talk to your Hue Hub, you need a little bit of patience and a helping hand from one of the many how to guides on the internet.
So why would you want Smart Home Lighting, well you may wish to automate your lights and start connecting those devices to other devices, eg upon motion detection turn the downstairs cloakroom light on, then kitchen and then the landing, turning each one off as you go.
This would simulate movement in the house which is then likely to deter thieves as they will think someone is in, providing you keep your curtains shut and blinds down. If the lights are on and no ones home due to blinds being up, then you may find unwanted visitors taking a look around.
Have a look at each product available and see what you think. Philips Hue is the market leader so don’t let that put you off, but remember that some bulbs connect to a hub (Hue and Tradfri for sure) and others are wifi enabled bulbs that connect direct to your wifi.
All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Check out what is out there, however if you wish to automate, come back soon for an article on automating your ‘things’!