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What is a Smart Lightbulb?

Last Updated Aug 18, 2014 · Written by Rob Schneider


We have a lot of "smart" devices these days, but what is a smart lightbulb? No, it's not that cartoon bulb that lights up in your mind when you have a good idea. Find out what makes one lightbulb smarter than another.

What Makes a Lightbulb Smart?



Smart lightbulbs aren't smart because they have artificial intelligence (AI) programs installed in them. They are made "smart" because they are:
  1. Connected to your home automation system;
  2. Connected by WiFi to your smart phone; or
  3. Both of the above.
Let's say you're going to be late getting home from work, but are anxious because you don't want your house to look unlived in after dark. If you have a home automation system, you can program the system to turn on selected lights in your home at a pre-determined time or connect with the system from your computer or smart phone and tell it to turn on your lights.

Smart lightbulbs are similar to lightbulbs that are connected to a home automation system, but a little different. A smart lightbulb is connected directly to your mobile device via an app on your device and a WiFi or Bluetooth connection.

Where Can I Buy a Smart Lightbulb?



Originally novelty products, major lightbulb manufacturers and smart device manufacturers are now actively developing and promoting smart lightbulbs. As a result, they are becoming "smarter" and cheaper all the time. Better lighting suppliers now sell them and they can be a very affordable alternative to installing a home automation system.

Smart lightbulbs use LED lights. LED's far outlast conventional lightbulbs and use a fraction of the energy incandescent and fluorescent bulbs use. usually rated to last 40,000 hours, they often come with 2 year warranties.

Most brands now allow you to take advantage of LED technology and alter the colour and brightness of the light with your app. When you're working or reading, you can use a bright blue-white light. For putting on makeup, you might want to choose a more neutral colour or a colour that replicates natural lighting. With some smart bulbs and apps, you can create a party atmosphere with flashing, multi-coloured lights. You can even program some bulbs to wake you up in the morning with realistic sunrise colours.

When choosing smart lightbulbs, compare both prices and features. Because the app is the feature you will use the most, try to compare apps before choosing a lightbulb. Some apps have more features than others and some are easier to use. If you're going to be purchasing more than one smart lightbulb, make sure you buy a brand that allows you to name the various lights in your home and control them individually. Don't worry too much about your smart lightbulb becoming dumber in the future. Manufacturers regularly update their apps, so the smart bulb you buy today will only get smarter later.
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