Get smart: Embrace tech to light up your home – The Irish Times

Picture the scene: it’s late at night, no one is at home but as you pull in to your driveway, you can see the lights in your living room are already on, and the hall lamp turns on as you approach the house, making it look as if someone is at home.

Welcome to the world of smart lighting.

For some, smart lighting is a solution that has no problem. It is throwing technology at an issue that can easily be solved with some old-school timer switches or just leaving a light or two on around the house all day.

But there are some good reasons for installing smart lighting in your home – not least the rising cost of electricity.

Timers are fine if you have the same schedule, or are okay with having to adjust the schedule every few weeks as the time of sunset and sunrise changes with the seasons. But smart lighting can offer not only convenience, by allowing your lighting schedule to automatically change with sunset time, for example, but also more control over how your home is lit.

Depending on the system you opt for, you could get access to everything from sunrise and sunset automation, geofencing and routines to different lighting “scenes” and holiday modes that turn your lights on and off at different times to make it seem as if someone is home.


Before you begin investing in connected bulbs, though, there is one important consideration to bear in mind – compatibility.

With the current systems that are in place, it can be a bit complex to set up a smart home. Each manufacturer has its own app (or two, in some cases) to get the bulbs connected to your home wifi and working on the schedule that suits you. And while you can connect the bulbs into a smart hub such as Google Home, Alexa or Apple HomePod Mini, there isn’t universal support for every manufacturer yet. So some bulbs will work with Google Home, Alexa or Samsung’s Smartthings hub, but not Apple’s HomeKit.

It is frustrating for consumers who just want things to work, but change is coming. The major smarthome players have come together to agree on a standard that will ensure you can plug in a device, such as your smart bulb, and it will work with the rest of your smart home. That’s thanks to Matter, a collaboration between some of the biggest players in tech including Apple, Google and Samsung.

The new standard is expected to begin hitting the market in a few months, and you’ll be able to select products with the Matter logo. Until then though, make sure any system you pick is compatible with your chosen platform.

Smart bulbs

With that in mind, there are a couple of ways to get smart lighting into your home today. The first is through smart bulbs. These are connected bulbs that link in with your smart home system and allow you to control power, colour, temperature and brightness through an app or by using voice commands.

Smart-home apps can give you control of everything from light to heating. Photograph: iStock

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