6 Ways Smart Lighting Can Help You Take Control of Your Home
When it comes to building out your smart home, there’s arguably no better place to start than the lighting category. Not only is it simple to integrate, but it also makes an immediate impact on the safety, energy-efficiency, and convenience of your home. With over 110 years of experience in electrical safety and over 30 years in home automation, Leviton boasts smart lighting solutions that, despite their use of forward-thinking technology, is easy for anyone to adopt.
Not sure how intelligent lighting can work in your home? We spoke to Greg Rhoades, director of marketing of smart home products at Leviton, about the capabilities of modern devices and how homeowners can best take advantage of them.
Smart Bulbs vs. Smart Switches
The first fork in the road to lighting automation is deciding whether to control the bulbs in your home, or the light switches themselves. While color-changing smart bulbs can create a festive party atmosphere and impress friends, there are reasons why an an editor of a top technology publication declared them a "novelty."
Ranging from about $15 to $30 a pop, smart bulbs can be expensive to invest in if you plan on making the change throughout the home. Replacing a light switch, however, effectively and cost-efficiently connects a group of bulbs at once. This also guards against a common complaint with smart bulbs, which is that if the light switch is turned off, then the bulb can’t be controlled from the app. "Consumers are getting frustrated that their smart bulbs aren’t all that smart," says Rhoades. "Using regular, dimmable LED bulbs and a smart switch eliminates this frustration and confusion."
The Modern Aesthetic
While many gadgets from the Internet of Things category can be difficult to reconcile with your other home devices in terms of design and user-friendliness, Leviton offers products that blend in seamlessly. Because they don’t look overly futuristic, they’re intuitive to use for homeowners and guests—and with six color choices and screwless wallplates in multiple gang configurations, the final look is customizable.
The connected app also allows users to configure whether the LEDs on light switches are illuminated. This allows you to light up switches in a hallway while keeping those in bedrooms dark to avoid disturbing sleep.
Advanced Custom Settings
You’ve installed your intelligent lighting products, and now comes the fun part: orchestrating the perfect mood for every room. Today’s technology not only allows you to control brightness, but also minimum and maximum presets, and even how quickly the light dims. Leviton Decora Smart products—which work with Wi-Fi, Apple Homekit, or Z-Wave technology—allow you to decide whether the lights come on at full capacity each time, or remember their most recent setting. If you have a faulty bulb that flickers at five percent brightness, you can also set the minimum at that threshold to avoid the glitch. In each case, everyday homeowners now have access to the same advanced settings that were the province of professional installers in the past.
Thanks to the popularity of AI assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, voice commands are orchestrating smart home functions like never before. Leviton connects directly to these devices, eliminating the need for a hub or bridge. This trims costs, reduces the amount of necessary hardware, and makes it easy for you to control the lights with just your voice. Now users can say, "OK Google, turn everything off" from the comfort of their beds, or "Hey Siri, turn the living room to 100 percent" if they are entering the home with their hands full of groceries.
Take control of your devices even if you’re away from home. If you’re the kind to wonder whether you flipped the switch before you left the house, then this feature is for you. Working in tandem with smart outlets that can turn small appliances on and off, intelligent lighting devices from Leviton mean that you never have to second-guess yourself again. They’re also helpful upon arrival: turn on the exterior lights before you pull into the driveway, or illuminate the interior of a vacation home to create a warm welcome.
Rounding out the capabilities of automated lighting, Leviton allows you to customize for on-demand activities that don’t happen everyday, like game night, movie time, or party mode. For example, with the touch of a button, you can optimize for movie time by automatically turning off the overhead lights, dimming the wall sconces to 20 percent, lowering the bathroom lights to 10 percent, and so on.
Countdown timers cut down on energy use by ensuring that frequently forgotten lights in closets, hallways, and bathrooms aren’t accidentally left on. With the Leviton app, you can set a device to turn on with a sensor and then turn off after a certain number of minutes.
Finally, use vacation mode to customize schedules that will give the impression that the house is occupied, deterring break-ins. A randomized lighting scheme makes sure that the illusion is realistic.
Have you integrated smart lighting products in your home? Tell us how it benefits you in the comments below.