Smart lighting is a technology that allows you to control your lights via an app on your phone. This gives you the ability to dim, turn on and off your lights, and even change their color. Smart bulbs and lighting systems can also be controlled by voice commands through your smart speaker, or with a home automation system that you have connected to your bulbs and fixtures. The best smart light bulbs can help you save energy and even provide well-being benefits, such as reducing eye strain or sleepiness.
Many people may be interested in the aesthetic possibilities offered by smart lighting, such as being able to set a certain mood or atmosphere. However, the most important reason for investing in a smart lighting system is the potential energy savings and wellbeing benefits that it can offer.
A key feature of the best smart lights is their low power consumption. LEDs use significantly less power than traditional bulbs, and smart bulbs can often achieve up to 80% energy savings over their life. This is because they operate at a lower brightness, and can have a built-in motion sensor that turns them off when no one is in the room. Some smart lights can also be programmed to automatically switch to a warmer colour and a higher brightness on cloudy or dull days. This can help to reduce the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, by mimicking sunlight and boosting serotonin levels.
Depending on your preferences, you can also program smart bulbs to act as notifications. For example, you can have the lights located by your front door automatically turn blue at a certain time if rain is predicted. Or you can program a light in your office to blink red when you get an email from work. You can even program your smart lights to turn a certain colour when it’s bedtime, so you and your family know that it is time for sleep.
The best smart lighting is also able to connect to your smartphone or other devices so that you can manage them from anywhere. This can be a big benefit for people with mobility challenges who might have difficulty reaching or twisting a light switch, or for anyone who regularly forgets to turn off the lights when they leave a room. You can even link your lights to your virtual assistant and have them speak back to you, allowing you to give simple voice commands and control your lighting from your bed or even on the beach on vacation.
The current literature search identified 13 studies, which were difficult to compare due to a lack of unambiguous definitions of ‘smart lighting’, as well as variation in required system components and investigated outcomes. Despite these limitations, the results are encouraging and suggest that smart lighting can play an important role in reducing energy and promoting wellbeing in homes, workplaces and public buildings. High-quality future research is needed to further investigate the opportunities for well-being interventions through the use of smart lighting in a range of different settings.