The smart lighting market is massive, with products ranging from bulbs to switches to add-on plugs. Some can work on their own, but others require a hub (like the one shown here) to communicate with your home network and provide more functionality. Regardless of what type you choose, you can control them with a smartphone app, a remote control, a smart display or even by using your voice (if they’re compatible).
Some smart lights can adjust their brightness and even color temperature (with colored models). You can also set schedules for them to turn on and off at dusk or dawn, and some can also automatically dim at night to give the house a more relaxed feel or brighten when the sun comes up in the morning. These features can be especially helpful for people with trouble waking up or going to sleep.
Other smart light options allow you to set your lights to flash or blink a certain color in the event of an alarm or another emergency, such as a fire or intruder. You can also connect them to other systems in your home, such as the doorbell and security cameras. When someone approaches the door, it can trigger the porch light to come on, and your bedroom lights can turn off when you’re preparing for bed. Lights can even be connected to calendars or social media, and they’ll blink a particular colour when you get a message or reminder on those devices.
Most smart light models can be controlled remotely, whether you’re at home or away. You can do this by connecting them to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave or wireless radio. If you choose a hub-based model that requires a router, your system can be upgraded with the addition of smart home accessories or other devices that connect to the hub (like smart speakers). Some models also use Matter, a new open standard, which promises cross-platform compatibility and interoperability between different types of lighting.
Smart lights are easy to set up and operate, and they can save you money in both the short and long terms. They’re great for people who tend to forget to turn off the lights, and they can help make your home appear more occupied when you’re away on vacation or business travel. You can even set your smart lights to “mockupancy” mode, where they’ll switch on and off at different times to give the impression that your house is inhabited. This can deter would-be thieves and criminals.