Advanced lighting control in your home can be as simple as screwing in a light bulb and connecting it to your wifi. Basic products can be turned on and off remotely or dimmed through an app on your smart phone. Some allow you to change the color of the light or set scenes on demand or on a schedule, or they may even learn your preferences and do it for you. Others use color changing features to help you feel more energized in the morning or wind down at the end of the day. Features can vary greatly so it may be helpful for you to think ahead about what functionality you want and for which room or space you want it. Keep in mind that the more features, the higher the initial cost. Here are some of the smart lighting product features offered today:
What do you want your smart light to be able to do?
- Basic on/off and dimming (no light color change)
- White color tuning – this means you can control the shade of the light from warm to cool
- White and party color changing – products that offer white light or set colors like red, blue and green or ones that can tune to just about any color in the rainbow.
- Do you want the light to respond to your schedule or behavior without having to program it – if so then look for one with built in sensors.
- Photo cell built in for outdoor use
- Geo-fencing – so you can set the light to operate a particular way when you (i.e. your smartphone) is either in or out of the home
- Do you want to control the lights with your voice – look for one that pairs with a voice activated digital assistant
- Do you want to control the lights when you are not home? If so you won’t want a Bluetooth product because this type of connection has limited range.
- Do you want to still be able to control the lights through a wall switch or remote? Sometimes it can be frustrating when only one person has access to the controls on their smart phone, but there are accessories you can buy to address this, and most don’t even require hard-wiring.