The advantages and disadvantages of smart lighting - Lifestyle AU
The advantages and disadvantages of smart lighting

The advantages and disadvantages of smart lighting

The premise of smart lighting with features like voice assistants and the ability to take control from remote locations was nothing but science fiction a decade ago. Today, however, we're living in that reality with smart lights now at an affordable price point for use in our homes.

Words by Yohei Guy

Smart lights are fantastic products that seem to be in a constant state of development and innovation. They offer some amazing benefits but do have a few drawbacks as well so we thought we’d cover the pros and cons of smart lighting and whether it's the right choice for your home.

Volatiles Interactive LED Light with kitchen installation from Hunza Lighting

The advantages of smart lighting

It’s always nice to start with the positives so we begin by highlighting some of the stronger selling points of smart lighting.

Manage your lighting remotely

Of course, the most significant advantage of smart lighting is that it gives you the capability to manage your lighting remotely. For many of us, this means not having to get out of bed to turn the bedroom light off or being able to dim the lights using voice commands. However, this can also be an important feature for people with mobility challenges.

This ability to manage your lighting remotely is also an essential safety feature. For example, when you're out of town, you can set up a schedule for your smart lights to go on and off during the times when you usually use them. This makes it harder for potential burglars to tell if you're home or not and may protect you from potential break-ins.

Set different lighting colours

One of the more fun features of smart lighting is that you can control the bulb's colour from your phone. Not only can you decide if you want your lighting to be warmer or cooler in tone, but you can turn your room purple or green if you like. These colour-changing bulbs can actually have a profound benefit, especially for people fighting insomnia.

You can set up routines on your smart bulbs to begin changing the temperature of your lights as you get closer to bedtime. Studies have shown that blue lights signal our brains to stay awake longer. Shifting your smart lights to warmer tones around bedtime could help you sleep better and stay more in sync with your circadian rhythms.

Volatiles Interactive LED Light controlled via app from Hunza Lighting

Establish daily routines

The dream of the ultimate smart home is to have a space that customises its routines to fit with your schedule. We want coffee pots that have a steaming cup of coffee ready when we get up in the morning, curtains that open and close at the start and end of the day, and an oven that has dinner ready when we sit down at the table.

Smart bulbs can make part of that dream a reality in your home.

You can set up schedules and daily routines to automate your light usage. For example, if you get up at seven every morning, you can instruct the smart bulbs in your bathroom and kitchen to turn on at this time. You can also tell all the lights in the house to turn off at a specific time, such as when you leave for work or when it's time for bed.

More expensive bulbs

The biggest disadvantage of smart light bulbs is that they're much more expensive than regular lightbulbs. As of this writing, a standard incandescent bulb costs about a dollar, while a non-smart LED light bulb costs around $5. A smart bulb costs around $15 each, and that's not counting additional hub expenses.

The good news is that smart bulbs are generally all LEDs, which last an incredibly long time. In fact, many LED bulbs come with an estimated 25,000-hour lifespan. This means you could use the bulb for eight hours a day and expect it to last more than eight years, so your $15 investment will cost you just under two dollars a year.

Related article: LED Lights - The Definitive Guide

LED Smart Light from LIFX Australia

The disadvantages of smart lighting

With some great benefits covered, we look at someof the characteristics and qualities that might make smart lighting a less appropriate choice for your ho me.

Requires a steady wifi connection

The very thing that makes smart bulbs such a convenient thing to have around the house can also become a source of frustration. Smart bulbs work by connecting through wifi to a hub that can communicate with your phone. When the wifi goes out, so does your ability to control your smart bulb.

The good news is that when your wifi is out, your smart bulb will still function—it will just become a regular lightbulb. You can turn it on and off with the usual light switch, and it will default to a basic colour and temperature. But if you have trouble maintaining a stable wifi connection at your house, smart lighting may not be the best choice for you.

Requires an additional hub

We mentioned that smart bulbs are somewhat expensive, but the bulbs themselves are not the only costs you'll pay when setting up your smart lighting system. As we mentioned, smart bulbs require you to have a hub that acts as a controller. This hub communicates with your phone and manages the schedules and commands for all the bulbs around your house.

Smart lighting hubs vary in price depending on what brand you're using. Often, these hubs may be used for more than one smart device around your house, making it a somewhat more affordable investment. You can even get home security systems that function as hubs for smart lights and other smart devices around your home.

Smart Home Automation from Clipsal by Schneider Electric

Learn more about smart lighting

Smart lighting is part of the smart home that brings our daily routines into the future. You can set routines for your lights, change the colour, and even manage your lighting when you're not home. However, these systems can be somewhat expensive and they do require a reliable wifi connection to function correctly.

That being said, as is the case with most new technologies, products get more sophisticated and prices get lower over the passage of time so the case for smart lighting will only get stronger and stronger.

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