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Smart Lighting: A Bright Idea You Won’t Want To Miss Out On September 12, 2016 06:00

If you've ever woken to nature’s call in the middle of the night, you're probably familiar with the dread of traversing the pitch black obstacle course of unseen kid’s toys, razor-sharp furniture corners, and the occasional unlucky pet.

When faced with such a task, most people only have two options: recreate a mental picture of what you think your surroundings look like, or “mummy walk” (slow baby steps with outstretched arms waving) your way to your destination.

But those with smart lighting have it much easier. For them, simply pressing a button on their phone or speaking a voice command illuminates the path ahead, navigating them to their destination with pinky toes and shins unbruised.

If you’re tired of problems like bumps in the night and want to experience a host of other benefits like the convenience of home automation, complete color freedom, and substantial energy savings, then smart lighting is the bright idea you've been waiting for.

Smart lighting and smart light bulbs explained

Smart lighting can refer to a range of different systems and products. In its most general sense, smart lighting is the altering of what most people would consider traditional bulbs to meet a specific purpose.

Chronologically, the development of smart bulbs was focused solely on optimizing energy efficiency. Starting with grandfather incandescent (the old-fashioned filament bulbs), the timeline of the lightbulb continued into fluorescent tube technology, through fluorescent bulbs, and up to the invention and honing of LED (or Light Emitting Diode) technology. In its earliest days then, smart lighting was simply a reference to more efficient lighting.

As technology progressed, though, innovations were made with regards to lighting as well as to sensors, power usage, and connectivity. Soon we were able to pack more modernization and advances into a lightbulb than you had on your first cell phone, probably with a better signal too!

With all these additional abilities, the modern lightbulb has been transformed into something new entirely. Now, smart light bulbs and systems are capable of a synchronicity and automation that used to be seen in early science-fiction movies.

With an expertly crafted smart lighting system, your home’s lighting can react to your movements, lighting up a room as you enter and dimming as you leave. You can be gently awoken from a night’s sleep as your room slowly fills with ambient light to mimic a sunrise. You can change the entire aesthetic of any room by cycling through a dizzying array of colors emitted from each light source, changeable on a whim. The possibilities really are endless.

The biggest benefits to using smart lighting

Smart lighting technology has nearly reached the point where its only usage limitation is the creativity and skill of the person operating it. Here are five great reasons you’ll want to think about investing in smart lighting technology:

1. Save energyone of smart lighting’s main draws is the energy savings it can provide, which can be broken down into two different sources: the bulb efficiency and its ancillary capabilities. The most obvious energy savings come in the efficiency of the LED bulb itself, which boasts a usage life of 50,000 hours, 25 times that of an incandescent.

The lesser known efficiency, and more interesting ones, are made possible by what makes the smart light bulbs “smart”. With their ability to connect to different devices as well as house multiple sensors, certain smart bulbs can automatically turn off when you’ve left a room. Additionally, some have daylight sensors which can dim and brighten with the light of the day, saving you from paying for unnecessary light. Tack on the ability to integrate your lighting usage into scheduling and power management apps to meet your savings goals and your smart lighting system could save you a lot more than you expected.

2. Connect everything As we just mentioned, one benefit of smart light bulbs is that they are capable of connecting directly to a system, typically a tablet or phone or even a central control hub. This allows you to control not just one bulb at a time, but entire sets all at once. You can set up timing schedules for certain lighting patterns, establish criteria for responses you determine (i.e. walking into a room during one time frame could result in a different kind of light than if you’d entered at a different time), etc. Another possibility is linking patterns with activities occurring on the control device itself. If you’d like your desk lamp to flash blue when you receive a Facebook message, it can be done! The only limit is your creativity.

Digital Lumens, an intelligent LED lighting company, even went so far as to use the motion tracking sensors of their lights to help determine employee movement, contributing to a better understanding of space utilization as well as providing insight into manufacturing issues like inventory management and staff efficiency. They even synced it up with the facility’s climate control system!

3. Control from anywhereOne of the most appealing benefits of a smart lighting system is your ability to control your home’s lights from anywhere in the world. Consider, for instance, how many times you’ve left home only to realize you left all the lights on. Instead of heading all the way back, smart lighting lets you switch off any light in the house right from your phone.

Don’t forget about the security benefits of such a feature by the way. Say you’ve just arrived at your vacation destination only to realize you didn’t leave any lights on while you’re away, leaving a prime target for any intruders. All you have to do is flip on a few lights from your phone or, better yet, quickly create a timing schedule so your home’s lights will pop on in the evening to scare off any would-be burglars, thanks to smart lighting.

4. Wake up naturally Several smart bulb manufacturers have taken advantage of new findings that suggest our bodies are wired to be most effective when we are slowly awoken by gradually increasing light, such as that of the rising sun. Unfortunately, some of us either don’t have a window directly facing east or end up getting up when it’s still dark out so waking via sunrise isn’t a luxury we can afford. Smart bulbs like the FluxSmart Bluetooth LED Lightbulb are solutions to this problem as their “sunrise mode” will slowly bring you into the day by gradually increasing the light according to your desired wakeup time.

5. Add some color to your lifeFor many, the biggest draw of smart lighting is its ability to change to any hue to suit your mood. The Fluxsmart WiFi LED Light Bulb, for instance, boasts an astounding array of color capabilities, with over 16 million different color varieties at your fingertips, including different tones of white light. The color capabilities of smart bulbs can be set to different schedules and timers as well. If you are looking to mellow out your evenings before bed, tone it down to a calming blue. Not a morning person? Energize the start of your day with a radiant yellow. You can even sync up colors with your music, making your next house party a breeze.

Ready to step into the future with smart lighting?

While technology like the smart bulb was at one point only available to the public in the form of science fiction flicks, smart lighting products have now reached a reasonable and accessible price range. Additionally, whereas the bulbs were once an eyesore due to lack of technological sophistication, now their rising popularity has given way to exciting and stylish designs that can either accentuate the style of your interior or not draw attention to itself at all like a normal bulb.

Now that you know just a few of the benefits to outfitting your home with smart lighting, are you ready to start saving on your energy costs, add a whole new level of customization ability to your environment, and experience the convenience (and awesomeness!) of home automation?

Check out all the fun products Flux Smart has to offer.


Difference between Flux Bluetooth and Flux WiFi Smart Bulbs March 06, 2016 15:51 13 Comments

We get a lot of questions asking whats the differences are between the Flux Bluetooth and Flux WiFi smart bulbs. While the two bulbs share a lot of similar features, there are some differences.

Connectivity

This is the obvious difference. The Flux Bluetooth smart bulb uses Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology for connectivity. The Flux WiFi smart bulb on the other hand uses wifi technology for connectivity.

Device Compatibility

Bluetooth 4.0 is a relatively new technology and not all smart phones supports it. And because of this the Flux Bluetooth smart bulb requires some of the newer smartphone models (iPhone 4s and higher, Android 4.3 and above).

Wifi technology on the other hand is pretty standardized and been available in most devices for a long time. So the Flux WiFi smart bulb supports a wider range of iOS and Android devices.

Setup

The Flux Bluetooth smart bulb has a very simple setup process. Screw in and power on the bulb, download the free app, and connect to the bulb.

The Flux WiFi smart bulb has a two step setup process. First you connect your phone to the bulb's wifi endpoint. And then you open the app and follow the instructions to pair the bulb with your home wifi router. 

Connection Range & Remote Connection:

The Flux Bluetooth bulb require you to be within the Bluetooth range (30 feet unobstructed) to control the smart bulb. 

The Flux WiFi bulb's range is the range of your wifi network. If you can connect to your wifi network, you can control the bulb. And one of the really cool feature available with the WiFi bulb is the "Remote Connection". When this is enabled, you can connect and control the bulb from anywhere you have Internet access on your device. How cool is that?

Multi Device Control

One of the limitation of Bluetooth is that it's a 1 to 1 connectivity technology. So the bulb can be connected to only one phone at a time. So if you are in a household with multiple devices, only one of them can connect and control the bulbs at a time.

Since wifi does not have this limitation, the Flux WiFi bulbs allow multiple devices to be connected to the bulb at the same time and even control the bulb. Perfect for those lighting wars. 

So there it is. Both bulbs offer very similar functionalities, but the Flux WiFi bulb offers few extra nice to have features like remote connection, multi-device control etc. So if you are looking for a super simple setup and a robust smart bulb, the Flux Bluetooth is the one for you. But if you want additional bells and whistles like remote connection, and multi-device control, go with the Flux WiFi

But either way, you are not going to be disappointed. So go try them out and change the way you see light.

Bonus Question:

Some of you have asked if you can control the two bulbs together. That is currently not possible as they use different underlying technology and hence different apps.