One of the more common gripes is that it’s pointless to pay more for smart light bulbs so that you can avoid using a smart light switch
The thing is, that type of baseline convenience is where smart light bulbs begin… We’ll look today at a broad spread of methods you can use to get even more than you thought possible out of your smart bulbs.
Creative Uses For Smart Light Bulbs
Check out these ten creative uses for smart light bulbs to get some inspiration for the scope of smart lighting beyond simply saving a few bucks on your power bill. Not all tricks work with all bulbs, but we wanted to give you an overview of the breadth of scope offered by smart light bulbs. Use them on their own or as part of a larger smart home system, all that counts is making your lighting work for you and your family just the way you want it. We’ll get straight down to it now with some ways to exploit your smart bulbs to the fullest…
1) See If Your Doors are Locked Behind You With Visual Alerts
One of the most horrible feelings is that momentary emptiness in your stomach as you wonder whether you locked the door behind you after being distracted by a phone call. If you've already invested in some form of home automation, chances are you'll have a smart door lock
. If you haven't, they're not expensive and deliver an extra layer of both convenience and security for that modest investment and easy installation. You can set up a smart light bulb
outside and program it to change color when the door's locked. This simple visual reminder is a great way to establish a new routine… The routine of never wondering if you've locked up behind you again. This is just one of many ways you can integrate smart bulbs with other devices and appliances in your connected home.
2) Get Help Being Prepared For The Weather
Perhaps your kids are just getting to the age where they like getting ready themselves in the morning… But are they confident of picking the right clothes for the weather? If you’ve got a smart bulb and other smart devices to work with it, you can set up an IFTTT set of commands that trigger the lights to turn blue when it's cold and bright red when it's hot outside. This might not seem like something you couldn’t achieve by taking a quick peek out the window and sure, that’s true. Think about the fun element for your children, though. It’s great to teach them self-responsibility and dressing appropriately needn’t be hard work if you use a little imagination. And you never know, they might get some Science homework on smart homes, and you can demonstrate how to command lights to behave according to the temperature.
3) Automatically Illuminate Cupboards and Storage Space
Let’s face it, most of our homes have at least one dark storage space whether it’s the cupboard under the stairs, the area for stashing coats and shoes, a loft space, or the basement. Often when you enter these cupboards and storage areas, your hands will be full of stuff and the last thing you want is fumbling for the light switch and trying to use your forehead to get some light on the subject. Not only do you get that sort of inconvenience every time you want to pack something away, but these lights also have a tendency to be left on for long periods unintentionally so burning up your electricity and hitting you in the pocket. Luckily, there’s a simple solution, and it doesn’t need to cost much at all… Ditch the switch and roll with smart bulbs and a sensor. Make sure the light comes on in the closet, cupboard, or loft and then goes off again as you leave. The classic combo trick that allows you to increase the scope of your smart home without spending too much in the process.
4) See Who’s Entering The House With Light Alerts
If you have an interest in the mighty Philips ecosystem, and you've got yourself some Hue smart bulbs, you can create alerts within your home, but what does this mean? As long as you connect to a smart home hub
, you can create a range of signal alerts using the IFTTT (If This, Then That) app in tandem with other systems. For example, receive an alert with the light changing color when someone comes through a certain door or enters a given area of the house. Whether you’re watching a movie and want to stay abreast of your kids’ movements or you want to make sure nobody comes strolling in unannounced, creating these alerts is straightforward. All you need to do is make sure your Hue smart bulb, Connect system, and your Z-Wave-enabled door controller are all working in harmony, and the commands will then be translate properly. The result is a visual alert of any incoming visitors so you can be prepared.
5) Teach Your Children Better Sleep Habits
One of the most difficult things with children is encouraging them over the years that bedtime is not a bad thing. The earlier you can teach your children healthy sleep habits, the better. If you can coax them toward embracing sleep from a young age, they’ll thank you later in life, and you’ll end up with a much better night’s sleep yourself. So what’s this got to do with smart light bulbs? Well, once again Philips Hue smart bulbs can be used creatively so you can give your kids a clear visual indicator of when it’s time to get out of bed, and equally when it’s time to curl up and sleep. All you need to do is schedule your bulb to kick in gradually when it’s time for bed, and also to illuminate the room gently when morning rolls around. Why not experiment with colors? Try a soothing green at night, and something more lively like red or yellow to get your children fired up for a new day in the morning. By gently incorporating this into your child's natural sleep routine, you might notice a pleasant difference, and if not, you haven't lost anything either!
6) Create Accent Lighting For Your Furniture
If you want to set off your furniture with strips of accent and mood lighting, Philips delivers once again with their class-leading Hue range. Feature Framing allows you to highlight shelving, stairways, cabinets or the area under the couch. These smart LED light bulbs come in strips set into plastic tape you can easily attach to furniture to pretty striking effect. These light strips work particularly well underneath furniture since the physical strip of lights remains out of sight with just the mood lighting to make a real statement. Mounting these lights around a TV can also yield some impressive results. There’s more than one variety of smart light bulbs so get creative and give your living room or bedroom an added edge.
7) Get Call Notifications on Android Phones
Apologies to Apple users – and that includes us! – but Android certainly give you more room for maneuver with home automation in many respects. If you have an Android device, you can invest in Hue Pro and Hue Pro Tasker, both available for less than a dollar and then link in a huge array of trigger actions to your lighting. When a call comes in, you could arrange for lights to flash or change color. You can even assign different colors to different contacts so you can keep on working away with your binaural beats through your headphones and see right away when someone calls you even if you can't hear your phone.
8) Make The Lights Turn Red When Smoke Alarm Goes Off
OK, you might be thinking how you could not
hear a smoke alarm going off, and if it's close at hand, apparently you would hear it. How about if you have a smoke detector in your garage or home workshop, though? What if you’ve got a much larger house and you can’t hear all the alarms at all times? If you’ve got Nest’s Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm to make your life safer, make use of IFTTT, and have your lights turn red, so there's no danger of falling foul to smoke or poisonous gases through failure to hear the alarm. Once again you can see the many ways in which IFTTT enables products and services that would otherwise not work together do so pretty seamlessly.
9) Create a Color Wash on Your Walls
While this article has been heavy on Philips Hue smart bulbs, they are a dominant force in smart lighting, and one of their primary benefits is the way you can take advantage of an insane palette of colors. It’s astonishing how you can change up the atmosphere in a room just by the color of the lighting. Why not take this idea and run with it further… Phillips Hue kits
offer some great accent lamps you can angle nicely to shine onto a wall so you can bathe an area in soothing blue light when you're trying to relax or you can use a brighter and more stimulating color wash when you sit your desk ready to attack a mountain of paperwork. Since colored lights come out much less brightly than white lights, you’ll get best effects trying for a color wash on pale walls. Hue bulbs don’t respond well to shades either since you’ll get a less intense and weaker output.
10) Don’t Forget To Take a Break When You’re Working
Remote working is becoming more and more popular. Much-loved by employees – who wouldn’t like to work from home – employers have started to see the benefits of allowing people to avoid wasting hours on unproductive commutes when they could often do their job very easily without leaving home. Sitting in front of the screen for extended periods without taking a break is bad for your eyes and doesn't do the quality of your work many favors either. Taking a short break every 30 to 40 minutes is sound practice, but it's all too easy to forget. While you could set the alarm or use an app, you could also use your smart lighting to prompt yourself with a clear visual reminder when it's time to ease off for 5 minutes and grab a coffee. Using apps designed to integrate with Philips Hue smart bulbs, you can make sure you stay rested throughout the working day by never skipping a break again.
We hope these ten creative uses for smart light bulbs has given you some food for thought if you weren't entirely sold on the many virtues of automated lighting. Let your imagination run wild, and it's not hard to create a real-life smart home every bit as intelligent as you'd see in a sci-fi movie. This technology is genuine and surprisingly affordable. It's also not complicated to get up and running with home automation. Check out more of the latest readings on the smart home blog
. Do you know of any other creative uses for smart light bulbs? Let us know on social media!