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An Architect’s Guide to: Smart Lighting

These bulbs address circadian rhythms, enhance home security and even entertain.

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

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If you tend to feel sluggish in the morning, you’re not alone. People all over the world observe Daylight Saving Time each year, extending daylight an hour into the evening — and messing with their internal clocks as a result. Fortunately, the LED industry has given us smart lighting solutions that can mimic sunsets and sunrises to help our bodies ease into resting or waking states more naturally.

Philips

In fact, from addressing circadian rhythm to providing home security, entertainment and more, the industry has been churning out a variety of bulbs that efficiently illuminate while offering a bonus feature. Here’s a sampling of inventions that have piqued our interest:

Comfy: Comfy Light

This LED bulb looks and functions like an ordinary bulb, but it doubles as a discreet connected home-surveillance system. It features an integrated motion sensor that, upon detecting movement and activity, sends alerts to your smartphone. It can also be set to flash, grabbing neighbors’ attentions while helping deter intruders. The mobile app also allows remote switching, which means you can simulate an occupied home while on vacation.

smart lighting

iLumi: LED Smartbulb

Ilumi’s bulbs come in A19, BR30 and outdoor flood lamp versions, all of which are Bluetooth-controlled via an iOS or Android app. Like many other LED bulbs at this time, it can be dimmed and its hues as well as white-color temperature adjusted on demand. But it can also be programmed to turn on or off and recreate a sunrise or sunset at specific times to help users wake up and sleep better. Timer settings can be especially useful during holidays and vacation time, as the light activity could potentially ward off home intruders who think the house is occupied.

One unique feature that may be of interest to hospitality or retail clients is the music-sync function. The music-responsive synchronized light-show color shifts, fades in and out or subtly pulses (unlike a strobe light).

Philips: Philips Hue White Ambiance

“Tunable white LED” was the talk of Lightfair International last year, and with more research suggesting that white-color temperature can affect everything from sleep to alertness, it’s still a huge trend in the industry. Similarly to the iLumi product, Philips Hue White Ambiance bulbs deliver every shade of white from a daylight-mimicking 6,500K (Kelvin) to a warm 2,200K.

A mobile app controls the bulbs and their various lighting scenes, such as a gradual sunrise or sunset (which presents a dim-to-warm as opposed to dim-to-dark sequence). The starter kit also includes a portable dimmer control switch and a wireless bridge for use with an Apple HomeKit (not required).

smart lighting

Saffron: Drift Light

This bulb is all about promoting sleep, but it works in a slightly different way from the other products that boast a timed gradual dim-to-warm setting. Instead of a timed program or app, users simply flick whichever switch is connected to the Drift Light twice to activate the sleep feature. The bulb will then slowly dim to warm over 37 minutes, which more accurately mimics a natural sunset.

Sengled: Pulse, Snap and Boost

This young company is touting a range of smart lighting products for the home, but some of these would be perfectly suited to retail, hospitality and office spaces, too. Pulse, for one, boasts an integrated JBL audio speaker that connects via Bluetooth to mobile devices. If the sound of a single speaker doesn’t cut it, up to six additional satellite bulbs can be connected to produce a surround-sound effect. The Pulse Flex version connects instead to wireless networks to stream from popular services such as Spotify.

Suitable for outdoor settings, Snap is a floodlight that features a wireless ultra-wide-angle HD camera for capturing video footage. In addition to live views, the camera can record footage to be stored in the cloud. Additional bells and whistles include motion sensors, night vision, a two-way intercom and programming to send alerts when activity is detected.

Dead zones are a thing of the past when using Boost. These A19, BR30 or PAR38 bulbs connect to a base router or gateway within 100 feet of it and then boost the Wi-Fi farther to eliminate internet dead zones.

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