If there’s one often neglected aspect of home security, it’s smart lighting. It’s an area that certainly belongs in the home security industry, but many people deem it unimportant. Well, it’s a mistake to do so, and if you’ve been wanting to get into smart lighting, join us as we take a look at what is it, what you need for it, and how it impacts home security.
What is Smart Lighting?
In its most basic form, smart lighting is lighting that you can control from one centralized device. It’s usually a hub that you connect to from your smartphone, whether it’s an Android or iOS phone, and you have an app that controls everything.
That app will enable you to change the brightness of the bulbs, and if you have colored LEDs, it will also enable to you change the colors, too. All of this, when you have multiple lights around your home, will enable you to create scenarios or recipes. For example, you could have dimmed warm white lights when you’re watching a movie, to make a warmer, more relaxed atmosphere. And the best thing is, you can switch from one scene to another with a few taps on your smartphone, or a few words with your voice assistant.
What Do You Need?
Smart lights generally rely on mesh networking. This means that each bulb wirelessly connects to the nearest neighbor and they create an entire network of devices. The network is controlled by a hub that acts as a central and is connected to your router. In turn, this allows you to connect a device to your home wireless network and use it to control the smart lights. Note, however, that some systems, such as the LIFX platform, connect directly to your Wi-Fi, and don’t require a hub.
One feature that is crucial if you want your smart lighting to have an impact on your home security is the “away from home” mode. This basically opens up the network for access when you’re away from home, which will come in handy in a few situations, but more on that in a minute.
Now, even though for the most basic experience, all you need is the bulbs and maybe a hub, there’s one more thing that’s worth getting – a voice assistant. Which one you go for might depend on the smart lighting system you’ve decided to go for. For example, the Philips Hue system works with Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s HomeKit, but others might require a specific speaker. Whichever one you choose, it’s going to give you the option to control the smart lighting with your voice, something that makes things extremely simple and convenient.
One last thing we’d like to mention is the pricing. Make no mistake, the investment is worth it because you’ll be saving a bit in terms of electricity, and as you’ll see below, you’ll be gaining quite a bit in terms of security. However, if you were hoping that the switch to smart lighting will pay itself off in a few months thanks to the lower electricity bills, you’ll be disappointed. You might want to consider a price range of a few hundred dollars if you’re going to go all out and deck out your home in smart lighting from top to bottom.
The Impact on Security
Many homeowners think that smart lighting is nothing more than just a convenience, and a way to make things a bit easier for yourself. However, there’s one major thing that you get – the ability to control the lights when you aren’t at home. This is invaluable and is what makes all the difference.
A major indicator of a vacant home for burglars is the lights being off for a day or two, continuously. Chances are the owner of that home is on vacation, or away for business, and their home is empty. This makes it a prime target, and you don’t want that happening to your home.
With smart lighting, however, the first thing you can do is set up a schedule. You could have your lights turn on at a predefined time, and turn off again after a while, such as at night. This is done with no user input at all and could be a deterrent. But if you’re gone for a while, a thief might catch up to that schedule and see that the home is vacant. This is where the “away from home” mode comes in. If you’re on vacation, you can connect to your home remotely, and shuffle things up every once in a while. And if a thief sees this, they’ll stay away from your home – it may not be vacant after all.