Smart lights are one of the most popular smart devices. This is for good reason, as they enable you to control your lighting; turning them on or off, changing their intensity or even colour using only your voice through smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. This means that by the nature of their design they are accessible to people with visual impairments. As well as controlling them with your voice, you can also control them remotely using apps on smartphones or home automation systems.
Types of smart lighting
Smart bulbs are easy to install and are effectively the same as replacing a light bulb — how many people does it take to change a light bulb…
Smart switches replace a standard light switch with one that has all the benefits that smart lighting can offer. They allow you to use the bulbs that you already have and they tend to last longer - although, they may cost more money and require an electrician to install them.
Smart strip lighting is a long strip of L.E.D. lights that can be positioned where needed. For example, using smart lighting such as a smart light strip in your kitchen, positioned under your kitchen cabinets, is a great way to brighten the room. You can turn them on and off easily and tailor them specifically for your needs, i.e. intensity or colour. This allows you to have task lighting when you are chopping or doing tasks in your kitchen.
What will you need for them to work?
You can use smart lighting with apps on your phone which are generally accessible. Although if you really want to enjoy all the benefits from them then you will need to get a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Some smart lights, like Philips Hue lights, also require something called a hub that connects your lights to your home WiFi network. However, others like TP-Link Kasa only require WiFi and a smartphone with their app installed to work.
Smart lights range in price significantly depending on their features, such as if they are dimmable or able to change colour. Typically, the price of a smart bulb starts from around £15. You should consider whether instead of buying smart bulbs, a smart switch would save you money over buying four bulbs for example.
Security and privacy
Security and privacy is a concern not only for smart lighting but for all smart devices. Having lots of smart devices connected to your home network and the internet leaves you vulnerable if one of them was to have poor security. It's advisable to research the brand and make sure that it hasn’t had any security breaches before purchasing. For more information please visit our online safety pages.
If using smart light bulbs, you will need to ensure that you and anyone you live with turns them off without using the light switch on the wall. The wall light switch is the biggest enemy of a smart bulb as turning the switch off causes it to lose power and it can’t function.