Smart Light for Home – What it is and how it works

Smart Light for Home – What it is and how it works. Smart light meets literally from the doorstep of a smart home. When you open the front door, the light comes on in greeting. A useful feature, but far from the only one, that appeared at the intersection of lighting technologies, radio transmission, and mobile devices. We understand what smart light is, what it consists of and how to control it at home.

How smart light works

The concept of a smart home involves controlling devices by voice or through a single application on a smartphone and creating automation scripts. All of this is also true for smart light. Smart light itself is:

  • lamps – installed in the base, for example, E27;
  • local lamps – plugged into the socket;
  • recessed luminaires – powered directly from the electrical network, while the connection to it is hidden in the ceiling or wall. The simplest example is a ceiling lamp;
  • LED strips – work through power adapters, which in turn are connected to an outlet;

Pay attention to the types of electrical connections, it is important to understand the many options for operation. Each of the devices can be conventional or smart. To make the device “smarter”, it is equipped with a wireless data transmission module. Most work over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or ZigBee.

Smart light capabilities

You can remotely adjust lighting parameters such as:

  • state (on / off);
  • brightness;
  • Colour;
  • Colour temperature.

There are two main methods of controlling smart light: connecting a conventional device through a smart device (for example, a conventional lamp + smart socket) or using directly smart lamps, dimmers, tapes, etc.

Smart light for home - what it is and how it works

A smart socket can be turned off and on remotely, thus manipulating the state of a standard luminaire. With the help of a smart base or switch, the same can be done with a light bulb.

  • Smart socket Digma DiPlug 100
  • Smart Base Redmond SkySocket RSP-202S

If the switch is dimmable, then the brightness can also be changed. This is a very handy option, but be careful to make sure the dimmer and lamp are compatible! Another feature of the switches is battery-operated, which allows you to scale your system without interfering with the power grid. The smart relay connects directly to the wiring so that through it you can monitor the status of both the socket and the recessed luminaire. It is better to mount such things at the stage of repair.

Smart lamps and luminaires are independent devices that can be fully controlled directly from a smartphone. In this case, you can further vary the color and color temperature. Note that the physical switches of such lights must always be in the ON position.

Smart light architecture

For automation scripts to work, communication is required between all elements of the system. At the same time, the scenarios often use smart home sensors (movement, illumination, door opening). And they communicate using different protocols: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee.

Why not connect everything over Wi-Fi? The main reason for using other protocols is power consumption. ZigBee is more energy-efficient, so the sensors work for years on battery power. Wi-Fi devices, on the other hand, require a constant connection to the mains. The second reason lies in the topology of the network. Classical wireless protocols are characterized by the “Star” type, which entails requirements for the placement of the switch. ZigBee was originally built with a mesh topology (Mesh) to deploy networks with a large number of nodes. Switches with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Mesh support are now available.

Smart light for home - what it is and how it works

The control unit, for example, Xiaomi Gateway 3, is called to make friends with all smart devices. It works with all protocols, collects data from devices on them, and transmits them to the router. If the number of gadgets is measured in tens, then intermediate Bluetooth and ZigBee gateways are used. So, the reference points of the architecture: sensors/devices – gateways – control unit – router – application.

Smart home control center Aqara Hub ZHWG11LM

Smart light for home - what it is and how it works

 

Management applications

We have reached the top level of control – the application in the smartphone. Its task is to provide the user with a convenient interface for adding devices, controlling their parameters, and creating scripts that will work automatically. Recall that you can add a gadget either directly or through a gateway. In the first case, it is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth device. In the second, ZigBee or Bluetooth.

Not all gadgets are supported by the gateway and app. Be sure to check device support before purchasing in the manufacturer’s specifications. Ideally, it should be indicated with which specific software the smart device of interest works.

Smart light for home - what it is and how it works

The most common smart home applications are Mi Home from Xiaomi and HomeKit from Apple. Also worth noting is the domestic manufacturer Rubetek, as well as the Hue Sync application from Philips, which differs in that it is developed specifically for smart light technology.

From the point of view of “omnivorousness”, Mi Home is in the lead by a wide margin. In addition to a wide range of Xiaomi’s own products (represented by sub-brands Aqara, Mijia, Yeelight), smart lamps from third-party manufacturers such as Philips and IKEA are supported. Some of these gadgets can be connected to the HomeKit ecosystem, again through the Xiaomi gateway.

The most interesting thing about the app is the automation scripts. There are several built-in ones and you can create your own. They are created according to the IFTTT principle – a list of conditional “if, then” commands.

Alice, light it up!

Let’s not forget about Alice and her colleagues in the voice assistants workshop.

Only Alice can understand Russian, so it’s difficult to talk about the convenience of using others. From a technical point of view, nothing complicated – Yandex supports five manufacturers, including the aforementioned Rubetek, Philips, and Xiaomi. When you connect to the account of the latter, all available devices will become available. Then you can work with commands already known to Alice, also combining them into scripts.

Smart light for home - what it is and how it works

Here are some examples of cool scenarios :

  • Simulated dawn. Gradual increase in brightness and color temperature. It turns on according to a schedule or according to data from a smart alarm clock. Yes, that is also possible;
  • Simulated sunset. Gradually decrease brightness and color temperature and decrease brightness. Automatically turn off the light when receiving a signal to fall asleep from a smart alarm;
  • Complete hang-up. According to the schedule or by the command to Alice “Turn off everything”;
  • Party. On command, the light is dimmed and the colors of the LED strip change.

The smart light is one of the key smart home technologies. Modern lighting fixtures provide a gentleman’s set of parameters to control and how to control them. This allows you to use ready-made and create new scenarios for the lighting of your living space. The smart light system is becoming more accessible, scalable, and dependent only on the flight of imagination.

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