So you’ve given your home the gift of smart lighting. Now, you must be really excited how to start using these and take the advantages. Usually, smart lighting is one of the first things a person experimenting with smart homes and DIYing generally starts with. Congratulations on your first step.
Here are the top things you should try with your lights. Setting up the lights into the socket and installing the related app gets you started. The app interface is smooth enough to guide you through.
Now the fun begins.
Benefits of Smart Lighting
1. Schedule your lights
Any lighting system labelled as smart should be able to operate on a schedule. Here, you can choose to have lights turn on (and off) at specific times.
Try experimenting with sunrise and sunset scheduling of your smart lights. It’s a lot easier than choosing specific hours of the day, or confirming exact times for dusk or dawn. One can also program smart lights to turn on when the weather suddenly changes to rainy or cloudy in otherwise sunny rooms.
If the app for your smart lights does not offer this amount of control, you can use a third-party solution as a workaround. IFTTT (If This Then That) is good place to start. The service enjoys a vast library of smart home integrations, connected lighting among them.
2. Come home to the lights ON
No one enjoys coming home to a dark lonely house or pitch-black driveway. At the same time, leaving bulbs burning around the clock may not be an energy efficient idea.
With smart bulbs like Philips Hue, there is a way to make your lights turn on as you arrive home or shut off when you leave. This feature is known as Geo fencing.
If your smart lights provider does not have this feature, an IFTTT applet lets your phone’s GPS data tell your lights where you are. IFTTT can then trigger your lights to turn on or off, based on where you and your phone go.
3. Group lights for greater control
An effective way to use smart lights is to group them together by room or zones. For instance, you can schedule all of the lights in your basement to go dark at midnight. Or, after 1 a.m. make every light on the main level to dim to 20 percent brightness. The possibilities go endless.
You can do this two ways; using the app for your bulbs or switches, or using a smart speaker, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. In either case, you can create rooms (or groups) and assign your lights to them so they act as a single unit.
Then, you can schedule the entire room or group to turn on or off at a specific time.
4. Set the scene
Scenes are another great way to use smart lights. Use them for specific conditions and tasks like watching movies, daytime or night-time reading, dinner parties, romantic moods etc.
Within a scene (easily programmable in your smart bulb’s app) you can set brightness, color temperature and even different hues. Once you fine tune a room’s lights, save those settings as a scene with a unique label. Once your scene is set up, you’re only an app tap away from your favorite mood lighting.
5. Home security with lights
Smart lighting can also serve as home security. Link switches, bulbs, and smart plugs to motion sensors around the house.
Set the lights to activate with motion or sound as the trigger. If someone is sneaking around outside or tries to break in, the lights turn on and trigger an alarm.
The smart lights can also be set to remind you of timers, alarms and select patterns. For instance, when you are leaving your home, as soon as you lock the front door with your smart lock, the lights turn green as an indication that the door is locked properly. With motion sensors, the smart lights can also be triggered to alert you if someone enters from the main door.
Vacation mode is another way to use smart lights as a theft deterrent. When enabled, your lights will turn on and off randomly, mimicking the behavior that someone’s home.
Some more Creative Uses for Smart Light Bulbs
1) See If Your Doors are Locked Behind You With Visual Alerts
2) Get the lights dance to the tune of your music
3) Automatically Illuminate Cupboards and Storage Space
4) See Who’s Entering The House With Light Alerts
5) Teach Your Children Better Sleep Habits
6) Create Accent Lighting For Your Furniture
7) Get Call Notifications on Android Phones
8) Make Lights Turn Red When Smoke Alarm Goes Off
9) Create a Color Wash on Your Walls
10) Don’t Forget To Take a Break When You’re Working
Let your imagination run wild, and it’s not hard to create a real-life smart home every bit as intelligent as you’d see in a sci-fi movie. This technology is genuine and surprisingly affordable. It’s also not complicated to get up and running with home automation.
“Lighting is everything! It creates atmosphere, drama and intrigue in a room” – Interior Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard