Smart lighting won’t make you a cup of coffee or bring you your slippers in the morning. Nor does it pour you another glass of wine while you’re lazing about on the couch watching the latest episode of ‘Ratched’ on Netflix. Or rather, it can’t do that yet. It’s not that smart. It also won’t play your audiobooks like Alexa does, but it can integrate with smart home automation systems to make your life more convenient.
Once you have completely integrated your lighting to your smart home, a whole world of possibilities opens up to you. There are, however, a few things you need to know before going crazy with the latest tech. Fret not, Sunburst Electric is here with a few handy tips and tricks.
Firstly, you’ve just spent money on smart lighting and yeah, they can be controlled using their own apps, but why would you want to limit yourself to just scheduling when your snazzy new lighting setup switches on or off? And here’s when you start to consider raising the IQ of your entire home. In a lightbulb moment, you realise there’s even more you can do with your lighting.
Choosing the right Smart Lighting
To start, you’re going to want to choose a platform that best suits your lifestyle. If you want the convenience of switching off lights from the comfort of your bed without clapping, you can choose from Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa. Pick the one you use most often, or whichever one takes the least amount of time to say – we all lead busy lives and barking monosyllables could be the route you’ve gone. Once you’ve done with this step, though, you’ll find you can use your lights in conjunction with things like cameras, air conditioning thermostats, and smart security systems. You may need to install a hub to your smart lighting to communicate wirelessly with your router.
So right about now you’re starting to think that this whole upgrade process is getting a bit steep on the budget front, right? I bet you’re mentally adding up costs and thinking ‘And I still haven’t even bought the lights themselves! And what happens when I have to replace them?! How much is that going to cost?’ Here’s where you get lucky. Remember when LED lights came out and they were pretty expensive compared to normal light bulbs? Yes? Right, then you’re also aware that they’re now pretty much the same price as regular bulbs. And better. Well, it’s the same with smart light bulbs, although – and here’s the real kicker – they really aren’t that much more than LED bulbs. Shop around, and you’d be surprised at how affordable they can be. They also last much longer than you’d think. There may even come a time when they replace LED lighting completely, making the latter the new dinosaurs of the lighting world.
So now you can sleep better tonight knowing that the upgrade process is definitely not going to bankrupt you. And speaking of sleeping better, did you know that smart lighting actually improves your sleeping patterns? Intrigued? Well, simply put: bright light is not good for a tired brain. If you’ve ever gotten up to grab a snack, or sauntered sleepily off to the bathroom and flicked the light switch without thinking, you’ll know precisely where I’m going with this. Ever switch your lights off and find yourself tossing and turning? In all those scenarios, you wind up in bed, suddenly wide awake, and your brain is frantically reminding you about that project due tomorrow which you haven’t worked on. Smart lighting, however, can be programmed to a low setting and you can even emulate a cool sunset effect, fading out gradually. Smart lighting can’t help you with that project, true, but it can trick your brain into sleep mode.
The trickery of smart lighting also comes in handy in other scenarios. We all know the trepidation that comes with packing the car for that trip to Durban or Cape Town. Some of us have even made some kind of arrangement with a homebody friend or neighbour to switch lights on and off (and hope that they do this daily). With smart lighting, however, you can not only programme the times your lights go off (meaning less favours/bribes/money wasted on aforementioned friend/neighbour), you can also programme your lighting network to function in a more natural manner. You can set your smart lights to come on and go off at different times and in different rooms, making it appear to the not-so-casual-observer that someone is home.
And when you are, in fact, home you can even programme your smart lighting to light up in a variety of ways. Different rooms can have different mood lighting – get creative with your space! You can even synchronise smart lighting to your music – and hey presto! You have your very own bar/night club/jazz lounge in your lounge (saving you money on Uber costs)! Go easy with the flickering, though. Safety first!
If you’re ready to renovate your home by incorporating a smart automation system, then installing smart lighting only makes sense. With the ability to use the flights with an app, you won’t even need to go to those lengths if you aren’t prepared to convert entirely. There’s really very little about smart lighting that isn’t going to improve your life. They are, after all, a smart choice (see what I did there?). Whichever path you choose, Sunburst Electric is standing by to help you with your installation. Even if you only want us to hold the ladder for you.