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How Do Smart Light Bulbs Work?

12 Mar 2019

Smart bulbs and smart lighting systems are a great way to personalize your home’s atmosphere. Even a single smart bulb is a step towards making your home a smart home.

So if you’re thinking about equipping your home with smart bulbs, here’s some of the most important information about them. We’ll cover exactly what smart bulbs are, how they work, and why you should use them.

What are smart bulbs?

Smart bulbs aren’t just controlled with a simple on/off switch. You also have the option to control them with an app on your phone.

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Additionally, you’ll also have full control over the color and brightness of the bulbs (depending on the model), so you can set the ambiance of your home.

Most smart bulb apps will suggest “recipes” which are basically just preset color/brightness combinations. Each recipe will be associated with a different feeling or energy. For example, some will promote concentration while other light recipes are designed to help you relax.

Smart bulbs and smart lighting systems aren’t just about impressing your friends with your tech-savviness at the next dinner party. They give you the freedom to control the light and atmosphere in each room, transforming your home into a more ideal environment to live, work, and relax in.

Benefits of smart light bulbs

If you’re wondering whether or not you should buy smart light bulbs, you’ll be pleased to hear that these bulbs have a number of benefits over standard lighting systems.

Turn any light on/off in seconds

If you forgot to turn off the light in another room, normally you’d have to make your way back to the room and flick the switch. If this light happens to be up or down multiple sets of stairs, or in a corner of the house that’s harder to access, this can mean a lot of wasted time traveling back and forth. But with a smart bulb, you can turn any light on or off, regardless of its location.

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If you’re heading out, you can easily turn every light in the house off with a single tap or swipe. No running from room to room.

This also means if you’ve forgotten to turn off any lights when you leave the home and you don’t realize it until you’re sitting in traffic halfway to work, no need to sweat it! You can turn off the light remotely through your app.

Control lights with your voice

To make things even easier, if you connect your smart bulbs to a smart assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you don’t even need to use your phone to set the lighting to your desired level. You can just use your voice.

alexa

So if your phone’s out of juice, or it’s just too far away to reach, you can just call out a command and let your smart device do the rest of the work.

Conserve energy and save money

Most people find that when they get smart bulbs, they end up saving money on energy bills. Smart bulbs aren’t necessarily more energy efficient than regular LED light bulbs, but as you’re  able to control them with your phone or your voice, you're likely a lot more aware of switching them on and off.

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You can often command all of the lights to turn off at once, which means it’s less likely that you’ll leave the odd light on by accident. You can also use smart timers to make sure lights turn off or on at a certain time.

Have full control over your home

There’s not much choice in terms of ambiance when you have a standard light bulb. Sure, you can sometimes get dimmer lights such as the Leviton Smart LED Dimmers and turn the brightness up or down, but with a smart bulb, you’ll have full control over your home’s lighting.

leviton-LED-dimmer-switch-1You can customize the color and brightness of the lighting in each room of your house. You’ll be able to optimize your home space for living, working, playing or relaxing.

How do smart light bulbs work?

Smart bulbs don’t just emit light, they also connect wirelessly to their neighbor bulbs and to smart devices such as a mobile phone, an Amazon Alexa or Google Home, etc. Philips Hue Smart Bulbs are one of the more popular smart bulbs on the market.

philips-hue-smart-bulbAll smart bulbs have wireless technology, but some of them differ in terms of exactly what automation protocol they use. Some smart bulbs use Wi-Fi, others use Bluetooth connections. And some bulbs even give you the option of using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, depending on your preference.

What do you need for a smart lighting system?

If you’re wondering how do smart light bulbs work, you might be wondering if you need any extra equipment to set them up. The simple answer is, yes, as smart bulbs aren’t stand-alone devices. Here’s what you need to make your home’s lighting system “smart.”

You need to connect them to an app on your phone, and sometimes to a smart home device or hub. Smart hubs are like central gateways for your home. All of your smart devices can be routed through them, so that you can control everything in your home just by using a single device. Popular hubs include Nest, Wink, SmartThings, or devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit.

leviton-light-switch-squareHubs are especially useful if you want to set your smart bulbs up on a timer, or link them with a compatible doorbell camera. This way you can set your lights to come on at certain times, or when the doorbell rings.

That being said though, you don’t always need a smart home hub to set up a smart lighting system in your home. It’s just a good option if you have lots of smart devices that you want to integrate.

Ultimately, the main thing you need is your smartphone. It will be difficult to effectively use your smart light bulbs without the accompanying app. You just download the app, connect your bulbs, and then control them from your phone. In some cases, you can toggle lighting from the same app that controls your security system.

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