Smart light bulbs are one of the simplest, and most effective ways of bringing the smart home into your house. Once installed they can transform the look and feel of your home, from creating the perfect ambiance for your favourite film to helping you nod off after a long day.
Smart lights aren’t just an aesthetic choice either, they come with real tangible benefits such as saving you energy or acting as a burglar deterrent. In this guide we’ll show you what a difference they can make.
Lights that know when you’re home
No one likes getting home to a house that’s completely in the dark. What if instead the moment you walked through the door the lights gently turned on with a warm welcoming glow.
Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue and Hive both have the ability to turn on the lights in your home the moment you get home, either by detecting your location in relation to your home or by activating it manually by simply saying “Alexa, I’m home” when you walk through the front door.
Lights that know when you’re away
What if you could go on holiday safe in the knowledge that while you’re not there, your house would behave as though you were so that to a burglar, it would look like you’d never left.
One of the big benefits of smart lighting systems like Hive is that it comes with a scheduling feature that turns the lights on and off at allotted times throughout the day. It’s not just Hive, both Hue, LifX and Ikea’s app all contain scheduling features.
Lighting that follows you around the house
As habits change, our homes have become more and more energy-aware. Saving energy doesn’t just save you money but it also helps reduce our carbon footprint. Lights are just one component where we can all make a small, but meaningful change and smart lights can take it to the next level.
Instead of manually switching lights on and off, or having to remember to turn them off before bed, imagine having them automatically turn on the moment you walk into a room and then discreetly turn off the moment you leave.
Using easy-to-install motion sensors, smart home systems like Hive allow you to connect your smart lights to a motion sensor and then tell them to turn on and off whenever they detect motion (or lack thereof).
Transform your living room into a cinema
Lighting has the ability to completely transform the entertainment in your home. A regular sunset on your TV can become an experience that fills your entire room. By mimicking the colours being shown on screen, the lights in your room can make you feel completely immersed in what’s going on in front of you.
The Philips Hue Sync app for Windows and Mac lets you connect your laptop to your TV and then have the lights respond to anything that’s being shown on the big screen, whether that’s the latest films, or catching up on your favourite boxset via Netflix.
If you want to take things to the next level, Philips’ state-of-the-art TVs actually including lighting systems which project up onto the wall behind them, automatically mimicking what’s happening on screen.
Need an energy boost or to concentrate?
During those winter hours it can be difficult to find the energy to stay productive once you’ve got home. Imagine having a button that instantly fills your room with radiant white light, perfect for keeping you alert and letting you finish those last few emails before finally curling up on the sofa.
Smart lighting systems like LIFX, Ikea Tradfri and Hue all have ‘scenes’ designed around different scenarios. For example within the Hue app you simply tap on the lights, then select the ‘Energise’ scene.
Ready to wind down after work? Just go back into scenes and tap ‘Relax’.
Bring the dancefloor to your living room
Our homes have to fulfil so many roles, from being our workplace, cinema, gym and of course, dancefloor. While music (and perhaps a not inconsiderable amount of wine) are key to a good party, the lighting can make all the difference.
Yes, having lights that change in time to the music is a shameless novelty, but it’s one that becomes immediately worth the investment when you see it in action.
Philips Hue’s lighting system actually supports a number of third-party apps like iConnect, which when synced with your Hue system will adjust the music in time to the music playing. It's certainly not what we’d call an ‘essential feature’ but it is an extremely fun perk of having smart lights.
Get help going to sleep…
We all know how important lighting is in helping us get a good night’s sleep, in fact it’s one of the reasons we’re told not to use our phone’s before bed. Imagine then a home which naturally adjusts its lighting as the evening goes on, gently transitioning from the harsh blue light of day towards a warmer light that prepares you for a good night’s sleep.
Philip Hue’s Sunset routine can let you slowly dim the lights over a period of around 30 minutes across one room, or if you want, the entire house. You can even set up a remote to instantly activate a special bedtime routine which changes the lighting colours and starts to fade out, perfect for getting those 40 winks.
…And wake up naturally
Of course it’s no use getting a good night’s sleep if you then wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Alarms are an effective, if unpleasant, way of getting us up in the morning and frankly there has to be a better way. Instead of being rudely woken every morning, how about being gently brought into consciousness with the slowly increasing light in your room.
Designed to mimic the very real sunrise going on outside your house, Philips Hue has a sunrise routine that just like its evening counterpart, very gently increases the light in your room to mimic the sun rising over the horizon. It’s hard to think of a more pleasant way of waking up.