As the effect of global warming becomes more and more insidious, the need for energy efficiency is heightened. This has engendered developments such as the smart grid, smart cars, and smart home appliances. One of the technologies in later development is the smart lighting product and it is majorly designed for energy efficiency.
According to studies and surveys, smart lighting is one of the most cost-effective ways of minimizing energy consumption in the home. Since lighting makes up 19% of the global energy use, it is expedient that we find ways to make the concept global as it will afford us tremendous savings if it can be used in the majority of homes.
Apart from the benefit of saving energy, smart lighting systems afford us ease and comfort as it can be controlled either using your voice or a mobile app. It is also touted as an affordable means of home redecoration; providing homeowners with a variety of colors and styles.
In essence, smart lighting opens you up to a world of possibilities; it reduces the amount you spend on energy bills and it also makes your home more aesthetically pleasing.
Now let’s go into detail and see how this exciting product works.
How do Smart Lighting Systems Work?
A smart bulb basically consists of a motion detector which is used to sense the presence of occupants in the room. The system also employs an electronic control unit, as well as a controllable switch. In some other products, a timer is present. This timer signals the electronic control unit after an established period of inactivity and the smart bulb is turned on or off as per the instruction.
The sensors are either passive infrared, ultrasonic, or hybrid. Some advanced smart bulbs are now equipped with daylighting technology with automated response systems that further minimize the consumption of energy. Although one drawback of this technology is experienced during periods of unstable weather conditions.
As regards the interconnection of the smart bulbs, the smart lighting employs mesh networking which requires each smart bulb to be connected wirelessly to the neighbor nearest to it. A hub, plugged into the router, then controls the network and this facilitates communication between the bulbs and the mobile devices.
While several smart bulbs make use of the hub, some others such as the LIFX platform connects directly to the Wi-Fi. The Philips’ Hue system also works well with the voice assistants of Google, Amazon, and Apple; meaning that you can easily activate certain features of the bulb using voice commands.
There are several smart bulbs in the smart lighting industry. Some of these bulbs are quite popular while some are relatively unknown. In the ensuing paragraphs, we shall attempt to go through some of the available smart lighting technologies.
1. Philips Hue
This is arguably the most popular system in use. The popularity of this smart Philips lighting brand can be attributed to how easy-to-use and functional the smart bulb is. You can control both the color and the intensity of our room using their kit. Let’s say you prefer a certain kind of light when you sleep, you can schedule the bulb to emit custom colors at any time. The app also works well with Android and iOS.
This bulb is unlike the Philips Hue which works with Wi-Fi, it is powered by Bluetooth. The app can directly control up to 64 bulbs within a range of 200 feet all at once. The brightness can also be dimmed to 10% and it can be adjusted to a wide range of spectrum; from 2700K which is arm white to 6500K (cool white). To do this, a ZigBee hub is required.
LG currently provides a 10W LED bulb which gives Android and iOS users a certain degree of control over the way their bulb emits light. This bulb is equipped with a security feature which can trick others into believing that you’re around. The brightness can also be controlled; especially if you want it to get brighter gradually after you wake up from sleep.
4. GE Link Smart LED
This is a smart lighting technology which allows you to connect your LED lightbulb remotely. The bulb works with Wink, an app which works with Android and iOS devices, and it controls other devices such as the air conditioner. GE Link bulbs are recognized by The Hue hubs can talk to them and it provides them with a good flexibility.
Although some of these products have an initial high cost, the longer life expectancy and the reduced energy consumption make up for the high cost of purchase. It also adds spice and fun to your home.