Smart Home, Smart Lighting, and the Internet of Things October 26, 2016 00:00

You may remember watching your first sci-fi film and being completely blown away by the technology the creators thought up.

The lasers, the spaceships, the little gizmos with flashing lights. All of it helped paint a picture of a world far more advanced than our own. And while there are certainly more impressive feats of science in these futuristic capers, there has always been one innovation that almost every futuristic society is bound to incorporate into their lives: the automatic door.

Silly as it seems compared to lasers and spaceships, the automatic door gets at the incredibly satisfying feeling of your environment responding to your movements, to your actions, all without you lifting a finger.

And while the future of those sci-fi films might still be far off, the thrill of an “intelligent” environment is more readily available than ever.

Home automation and the smart home

One of the fastest growing trends in modern home design is the incorporation of “home automation”. Also known as domotics or domotica, home automation is basically outfitting your domicile with features that turn on, off, or engage in another function automatically.

So say, for instance, you pull into your driveway after a long day at work. Instead of opening the garage door yourself, it senses your arrival and opens up all on its own. Kind of neat huh? That’s just the start.

As soon as you walk in the door, your home springs to life: the lights brighten up to greet you, the fireplace roars on, your favorite “mellow out” song starts playing in the background, and the oven has already preheated on its own. All you have to do is throw in dinner and relax.

Straight out of a sci-fi flick, right? Well home automation is very real, and very now. Companies dedicated to automating your home are springing up all across the globe, and are gaining national attention doing it.

And all of the amazing possibilities that a smart home can offer has its roots in one incredible idea…

The Internet of Things: the future is now

You may have heard this term being thrown around in the news, pop culture, even in art. And even if you think you don’t, you probably already know what the idea is all about.

The Internet of Things is a way to refer to the growing trend, the movement even, of enabling everyday objects to interact with each other, and with you, by connecting through the internet.

So whereas before you may not have been able to use your phone to control just how brown you want your toast to be, or get push notifications from your doorbell every time it’s rung, or set your thermostat from anywhere in the world, now the Internet of Things lets you connect with virtually anything.

And the implications and extensions of this idea are practically limitless, ranging from concrete that detects weak points in structural integrity to optimized traffic flow by incorporating smart street lights and smart sensors.

Technology is advancing so quickly that packing an incredible amount of sensing and processing power into an area no bigger than a pea has become entirely feasible, and it’s changing the world.

Smart lighting and home automation

Smart lighting is a direct result of the Internet of Things and up until then, lighting had been, well, a bit boring.

Consider the history of the lightbulb: the traditional incandescent bulb reigned supreme for over a hundred years, only recently being displaced by halogen lights and fluorescent bulbs, namely compact fluorescent lamps (or CFLs).

And while each alternative added an impressive boost in a light bulb’s lifetime, CFLs and halogen lights still only had one thing to offer, albeit more of it: light.

But the versatility of the LED combined with the advances in technology manufacturing brought a whole new world of possibilities to the light bulb. These smart bulbs are able to do things other bulbs simply can’t: allow access directly from a smart device, display over 16 million colors, play music from embedded speakers, and dim or brighten according to schedules you set.

And when you take control of these features by setting them to respond to certain criteria, like walking through the door for instance, you add a whole new level to your home automation capabilities.

Making your home smarter with smart lighting

Here are just a few ideas to show you just how versatile your smart lighting can be when it comes to home automation.

  • Ditch the alarm clock and use your smart lighting to gradually wake you in the morning
  • Schedule your lights to automatically dim in the evening to prepare you for a good night’s rest
  • Set your home’s lighting to turn off when you leave for work, all without lifting a finger
  • Link your lighting schedule with your to-do list to change colors when it’s time to switch tasks

Get creative with it! All it takes is just a little bit of ingenuity to turn your average, everyday home into a smart home of the future!

Let us know what you think!

Do you have any more ways to use smart lighting to turn your home into a smart home? Let us know in the comments below and have a look at the Flux Smart product line to start your home automation adventure.