You may have seen some incredible use of smart lighting and thought, “Yeah, but how can I do that?” You know what? You can get amazing results easily, and without having to make your bank account groan. Let’s take a look at ways that you can dip your toes into the wonderful world of smart lighting, while catching up on the latest tech.
A single smart light bulb can be all it takes to get started on your personal journey into escaping boring lighting to something more exciting – and suited to any mood.
Pop a smart bulb into a lamp, set up its app, and you might find yourself spending hours playing with the various effects that you can achieve. Just the spectrum of whites that you can harness can be surprising at first, from full-on white light and a shade perfect for reading, to our regular go-to in warm white.
Many smart lights can also be keyed into your personal circadian rhythms – LIFX make an LED bulb, the Day & Dusk, specifically for this task. This involves the device – or its controlling app – automatically shifting the colour temperature and lighting brightness subtly throughout the day to aid alertness, from waking up right through to winding down towards bedtime. With scientists only recently confirming that our eyes are critical to instigating the release of sleep hormone melatonin, this is a great example of perfect timeliness in tech.
Then come the colours – with most smart lighting tech offering over 16 million shades, there’s much to experiment with. Besides brightening up our lives, colours are an easy and effective way to set a mood. Maybe you’d like to get a room just right for an intimate dinner, or highlight your collectible-laden shelves. From more energetic warm colours – generally your reds, oranges and yellows – to more chilled cool ones such as green and blue through purple, you really can conjure something to suit any vibe.
Besides brightening up our lives, colours are an easy and effective way to set a mood.
Your colours don’t have to be static, either. There’s a rich rainbow to choose from, so why not have your lighting slowly cycle through the millions of them? Or, if that’s a bit too garish, set up a calming array of greens to undulate away pleasantly. Nailed the perfect setting? Save it as a favourite and return to it whenever the mood strikes. Once hooked into your personal helper ecosystem, such as Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri, you can then set the mood with a simple voice command.
If bulbs aren’t your go, then a light strip may be the answer. They’re basically what they sound like, a strip of LED lights with adhesive backing. You can subtly highlight everything from kitchen cupboards through to shelving or even your bed, and they’re brilliant behind an entertainment unit or on the back of your television. Fading them and the rest of our room lights out when we sit down to watch a movie never fails to raise a smile – and our guests generally like it, too!
Nanoleaf give us the Essentials
Nanoleaf have been a big name in the smart lighting space for a while now, most notably with their shaped modular lighting panels that allow the creation of art made of light. Their most recent release is two sizes of triangles, which can be combined with their hexagonal tiles for amazing displays.
With an aim to get back to the basics, this month sees the release of Nanoleaf’s Essentials range of bulbs and light strips. They all provide a rich array of 16 million-plus colours, as well as being able to supply pure, classic white lighting. They’re also the first consumer lighting products to work with the exciting new Thread technology, so they’re perfectly suited to Apple HomeKit, but they’ll also get along fine with Google Assistant – plus they don’t require any form of additional hub.
Keeping it simple, you can grab single, stylish rhombicosidodecahedron-shaped bulbs in either A60/E27 (screw) or B22 (bayonet) fittings, or a two-metre long Lightstrip switch controller and strip starter kit, with extra one metre extensions available at an affordable price. Just add a bit of creativity and you may be amazed at what you can come up with.
Light germ warfare!
Light is great for allowing us to see stuff, but as most of us know all too well – especially in this day and age – there’s a lot that light doesn’t let us see, by way of microscopic germs and bacteria. Very soon, there’ll be a bulb for that!
The LIFX Clean bulb is an exciting new development in HEV (High-Energy Visible) light – more commonly known as blue light – that harnesses its good properties to help keep you safe from invisible gremmies.
The Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the Swinburne University of Technology has declared the LIFX Clean completely safe for humans, plants and pets. You could pop one in a lamp next to where you plop your keys and mobile upon returning home for the day, and it’ll take care of up to 90 per cent of the bacteria that’s built-up throughout your busy day in one overnight cycle. The kitchen is another hotbed for bacteria, so you could pop a Clean in a pendant light or lamp, and naturally the bathroom would be a choice location.
Best of all, this microbe-crushing tech comes on top of the features of a classic LIFX bulb, so you also have the option of millions of colours, and the same ease of use via app or assistant.
Lenovo offer a very good place to start
If you’re looking for an easy kicking off point for your smart home experience, Lenovo have released a handy Smart Home Starter Kit.
Open the box and you’ll find a Lenovo Smart Colour Bulb, a two-metre Smart Lightstrip, two Lenovo Smart Plugs (which turn any device plugged into them into a smart device), plus a security setup comprising a Smart Indoor Camera, Smart Motion Sensor and Smart Window/Door Sensor.
All are able to be controlled from Lenovo’s Link app, and all of the devices are also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa for the added convenience – and fun – of voice control. Hey Google, let there be light!
Take it outside!
Why be confined to indoors with your smart lighting? Philips make a range of products crafted to endure the rigours of Australia’s seasonal extremes.
You could also go the full RGB lighting nine yards with expandable 2m strip lighting, or kick things off with starter base kits featuring the Philips Hue Outdoor White & Colour Spot Light or Outdoor White & Colour Pedestal Light. Why wait until Christmas to get a light show happening when you could have such joys all year round?