There are basically two ways to install smart lighting in your home. You can install a smart switch, or you can install smart light bulbs. The problem with smart bulbs surfaces when you install them in lamps or sockets that are controlled by the dumb switch on the wall. Turn off the switch and you'll never be able to control the bulb with an app on your smartphone or tablet, because no electricity is flowing to the bulb. Smart switches are the better alternative, except that most require a central hub to control them, and--unless you're comfortable dealing with live wires--an electrician to install them.
We don't normally think of light bulbs as decor, but Nanoleaf wants to change that with a light bulb that is both a statement piece and part of your smart home setup. The Nanoleaf Ivy looks nothing like a traditional light bulb -- it's black, geometric, and made up of a flat foldable printed circuit board. The good: The kit offered at the Apple Store includes everything you need to get started with an ultra-mod smart lighting system: the Nanoleaf Smart Hub, two Nanoleaf smart IVY LED light bulbs, a power cable, ethernet cable and a guide. It responds to verbal commands like "Siri, turn off the lights in the baby's room." Or "Siri, set my lights for dinner."
Out of all the home appliances you'd expect could be smart-ified as part of the connected home, the classic light switch might be last on the list. It's basic, with no apparent need for bells and whistles in smart homes where lights are controlled by smartphone -- but when you add some connectivity and a color display (who doesn't love touch screens?) it can become a smart light switch system that controls the whole house. Brilliant Control looks to replace plain old-fashioned light switches with mini smart hubs, complete with 5-inch LCD touch displays, Wi-Fi, motion and Amazon Alexa voice control built-in. Instead of just turning on and off the lights, the system can act as a control panel for an entire connected home, bringing security, music, lighting and climate tech all under one domain. Unlike more complicated connected home hub systems, Brilliant's makers claim it only takes about five to 10 minutes to switch out your current light switch for the new rig.
We've been hearing a lot about how Google Home and Amazon Echo can control our smart appliances and devices, but for many of us, they're still out of reach. Spending a couple hundred dollars on smart light bulbs or thousands on a new oven aren't exactly impulse buys, especially if we're just buying them to try out voice control. Thanks to IKEA, just about anyone can install smart lighting in their homes and manage them with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri. The Swedish furniture company announced in a press release that you will soon be able to control its affordable line of smart lights with the smart speakers and assistants you already have. IKEA's bulbs offer a no-frills approach to smart lighting.