Smart lighting is just LED lights with a small computer in them that connects to an app on your phone, tablet, or smart home assistant. Basically you can control your lights without leaving your gaming chair.
The biggest name in smart lighting is still Philips with its Hue bulbs, but many other companies have joined the market since then, including household names like IKEA, Hive and a whole host of others have got in on the act too.
Things to look for when buying smart lights
The main things to look for are does it need a separate hub, what is the lifetime of bulbs, and of course, does it work with your existing devices
What Can You Do With a Smart Light?
Using an app you can then change the brightness of the light right from your phone (or with your voice). If the bulbs are colour LEDs you can also set the colour of the lights. With you
The app enables you to change the brightness of the bulbs, and if the bulbs have coloured LEDs you can change their colours too. That opens up a whole world of possibilities, which you might call light recipes: you might have one light recipe for watching movies, another for dinnertime, and yet another for reading.
Smart lights are not limited to bubs either, you can get Philips Lightstrip, an 80 inch-long flexible strip that can display millions of colours, and the Nanoleaf Canvas allows you to add coloured panels to a wall.
If you’re setting up a games room, then there are lots of options to enhance the experience using smart lights.
Will Current Smart Lights Be Obsolete in a Few Years?
It’s hard to predict, but there are some signs that they will have a fairly long life.
If you’re worried about switching brands, most smart lighting systems use today use the ZigBee Light Link standard, including Philips, IKEA and others. And of course, the various lighting systems all use standard light fittings.
Top Smart Light Brands
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The Philips lights are known to be easy to set-up and work with lots of different devices Alexa, Apple, Google, Nest and others like IFTTT), stunning colour effects. On the other hand, they are on the higher end price-wise, and you do need to purchase a Hub that acts as an interface between your smart devices and the Philips lights.
No doubt due to their popularity, there have been security issues, so you need to keep your Bridge software updated. This can be done from your app by going into the Philips Hue mobile app, opening the Settings and select “Software update”.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Wyze’s smart bulb is a good option. It works with Google, Alexa. It’s a “tunable white” meaning it doesn’t offer the vibrant colours of the Philips lights but mimics daylight. You can change both the brightness and colour temperature (2,700k – 6,500k) with the Wyze app as well as Google, Alexa and IFTTT. It also does not need a hub like the Philips bulbs.
This is another inexpensive choice that works with both Alexa and Google Assistant. This one is simple to set-up, it doesn’t require a bridge like Philips’ bulbs but can connect to your home with the built-in WiFi.
There are a lot of smart bulbs coming onto the market, so it pays to shop around. The main things you should look for is: does it work with my existing set-up, is there additional hardware needed (like a hub), and what is the lifespan of the bulbs.