Over the course of just a few short years, smart technology has had a tremendous impact on our lives. By installing smart lighting and other smart systems, our lives can quickly be made more convenient and our homes can become more functional and secure.
According to one new study, “The majority (69 percent) of US households now own at least one smart home device.” Additionally, the study also claims that over the next twelve months about 18 percent of people surveyed want to purchase a smart lighting system.
Clearly, the market for smart lighting is alive and well. In fact, with many people now finding themselves in situations where they can (or have to) work from home, investing in smart lighting solutions is even easier to justify. The challenge, it seems, is choosing which smart lighting company you want to work.
Currently, the industry is mostly dominated by a few specialists, including Lutron Homeworks, Savant, Control4, and many others. The smart light provider that’s right for you will depend on many different personal factors. In this article, we will discuss 10 things you’ll want to be sure to consider when choosing a smart lighting system provider.
1. Intended Use
When creating a lighting system for any given space, the first thing you will need to think about is what you plan to actually do with it. If you are creating an outdoor space, for example, Lutron’s innovative LimeLight Outdoor Lighting can provide a bright, easy to control option. If you are looking to innovate a home theatre, on the other hand, things such as dimming, shading, and preset environments will also need to be considered.
The cost of smart lighting systems can vary wildly. If all you want is to install a single light, such as a front porch light with motion detectors, you could probably install that light for less than $100. On the other hand, creating a comprehensive smart home system—one that not only includes lighting, but includes sound, environmental, security, and smart devices—the costs will significantly go up. Knowing the scope of your project and having a rough estimate of your budget will make it much easier to find the smart lighting solution that’s right for you.
3. Size and Shape of Home
The size and shape of your home will both directly affect what you are able to get out of each smart lighting provider. Larger homes, naturally, will need more lights and will also likely need additional smart lighting screens (keeping just one Control4 smart lighting switch in a large home can be rather inconvenient). Furthermore, the shape of your home will also impact how well wireless systems are able to perform. Additional floors, walls, and other obstructions can potentially interrupt the wireless signal.
4. Color Changing
While some people are fine with simple, white light fixtures, others want lights that are a bit more exotic. Fortunately, due to improved LED lighting technology, installing color-changing lights in both indoor and outdoor spaces is now easier than ever. Consider lighting your home red and green for the holidays or wow your guests with a multi-colored light shows. Lighting companies such as Control4, Lutron, and Savant all make it easy to control these lights from a simple app on your phone.
5. Security Features
Lighting and security are two things that have always gone hand in hand. These days, motion-detecting lights will not only illuminate when someone passes by, but you can also program these lights to send updates directly to your phone. Furthermore, programming your lights to turn on and off throughout the day is a great way to make it look like somebody is home, even when you’re out of town.
6. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a modern term used to describe the interconnectedness that exists between various smart devices. Being able to control your speakers using Amazon’s Alexa is an example of IoT. Being able to monitor your fridge from your smartphone is yet another example. If you already have multiple smart devices in your home (as about 22 million homes in the US currently do), then you will want to be sure your smart lighting provider can be easily connected to your already existing network.
One of the most valuable features of smart lights is their ability to be easily dimmed from your phone or from a central control center. However, not all dimmers are the same. While some dimmers only feature four different dimming options, others feature 12 or even more. Effective dimming can help quickly transition a formal dining room into a lively gathering space—be sure that the dimmer you choose is able to fit your needs.
In addition to your lights, shades also play a very important role in determining how much light is let into any given room. Like lights, shades have also become much smarter over the past few years. Lutron’s innovative Sivoia QS Wireless Shading Solutions can be easily controlled by app and are also powerful enough to turn your family room into a high-quality home theatre. If smart shades are something that interests you, then you should probably consider purchasing them in conjunction with your lights.
9. Energy Consumption
These days, energy consumption is something that is on almost everybody’s mind. Lights consume energy whenever they are operating, which is why you’ll want a smart home system that is both LED friendly and uses limited amounts of energy. Installing lights that automatically turn off following 15 (or 30) minutes of no motion can also help you avoid running up the energy bill.
10. Future Needs
If you are considering purchasing smart lighting technology, you are probably doing so with your future needs in mind. When making this purchase, ask yourself, “How might my lighting needs change in the next five years?”, “What smart home system will I want to install next?”, “What are the total costs and benefits of making this purchase?” Addressing future needs in addition to current needs will help you make the right final decision.
If you currently own a home or business, purchasing a new smart lighting system has probably crossed your mind. These systems offer better functionality, energy consumption, connectedness, and value. But before you make any final purchases, contact your local smart light provider and keep these ten things in mind.