In recent years, interest in IoT, or the Internet of Things, has skyrocketed among tech and smart home enthusiasts. And it’s not hard to see why. With unlimited real-world business and home automation applications, IoT is an invaluable tool for optimizing everyday processes.
A good starter project for getting into IoT is using smart lighting. Automating your lights is a simple project that only requires the IoT lightbulbs or switches and an app to control them. You can complete this basic project in three easy steps.
Because IoT is multifaceted, it can be challenging to know how to get started. Luckily, this article is the ultimate beginner’s guide on an easy starter project to help you break into the world of IoT with smart lighting.
IoT Lighting Smart lighting systems
Smart lighting systems are connected devices controlled and monitored using a mobile app or web-based interface.
These systems offer a variety of benefits in managing power consumption, optimizing energy efficiency, enhancing security, and improving comfort and convenience.
Lighting is one of the essential elements in any indoor space, and smart lighting systems offer a new way to create customized and efficient lighting solutions.
In the past, lighting was often controlled manually, which could be both time-consuming and inefficient. With smart lighting, users can easily schedule lights to turn on and off at specific times or adjust the light intensity to suit their needs.
Additionally, smart lighting solutions can be integrated with other IoT devices to create even more sophisticated lighting solutions.
For example, some smart lighting setups can be equipped with sensors that automatically adjust the light level based on the amount of natural light in a room.
This allows users to create an optimal lighting environment for any situation.
Dynamic Uses of IoT Smart Lighting
Smart lighting is becoming increasingly common in both commercial and residential settings. These LED bulbs are connected to the internet and can be controlled remotely as part of a home automation system.
In addition, they can often be programmed to turn on and off at certain times, making them more energy-efficient.
In the past, lighting was one of the most manually-intensive aspects of facility management.
Lighting networks can be remotely monitored and controlled, significantly reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.
In addition, lighting automation can be used to optimize conditions for specific activities. For example, asset management systems can use IoT smart lights to track the location of assets and ensure they are adequately illuminated at all times.
The lighting industry is not the only one being transformed by the IoT. Smart buildings are becoming more common as well. Smart building automation systems can control various systems, including heating, ventilation, and security.
IoT is also changing the landscape of industrial automation. For example, machines connected to the internet can communicate with each other and share data.
This data can be used to improve efficiency and productivity. As IoT continues to evolve, we will likely see even more innovative applications for smart lights and automation.
Getting Started On Your First IoT Smart Lighting Project
Building automation into your lighting using IoT devices is a simple project that can help you understand how IoT works. This project can act as a stepping stone to bigger and better projects. For example, you can automate your entire house to follow your schedule or pre-program settings to make your day easier.
Before you go crazy and unscrew all the lightbulbs in your house, it’s essential to understand how this project works. You can implement this project in two ways: using lightbulbs with Wi-Fi capabilities or a Wi-Fi-enabled switchboard.
Lightbulbs with Wi-Fi capabilities are more expensive than your standard bulbs. Still, they typically have a range of settings like brightness and color that you can customize. So you can create a chilled vibe with different colors or dim the lights for a cinematic experience on movie night.
Wi-Fi-enabled light switches are cheaper than bulbs, and you only need to buy one that can control a roomful of lightbulbs. In addition, some switches come with motion sensors that switch the light on when they detect movement.
No matter your choice, you’ll need the bulbs or switch and an app to control the lights remotely. Some bulbs or switches have dedicated automation apps, while a universal app can control bulbs from almost any brand. According to Mobile App Daily, the best universal apps on the market include:
- Samsung SmartThings
- Google Home
- Alexa Smart Home
- Apple Home Kit App
Step-By-Step Guide To Basic Lights Automation
This guide has all the information you need to install and automate your smart lighting in any room. You’ll be able to control your new smart lighting system remotely from anywhere and set timers and pre-program settings to make life easier.
Install The Hardware And Software
The first thing you’ll want to do is install your hardware components. These can be smart bulbs or the Wi-Fi-enabled light switch. Installing the bulbs is pretty easy, and all you have to do is replace your old bulbs with new smart bulbs. Of course, you’ll have to leave the wall switch on constantly for the smart bulbs to be able to turn on automatically. But don’t worry, they won’t drain much power when turned off.
If you would rather use a Wi-Fi-enabled switch, getting electrical contractors in to do the wiring and replace the current switch may be a good idea. But if you’d like to take on the challenge of doing it yourself, you can watch a video on how to install a Wi-Fi light switch.
Once the switch is installed, it is ready to connect to your app. Some switches come with motion detectors or passive infrared or PIR sensors. These are used to switch lights on when they detect motion automatically.
There are a variety of applications you can use to control your lights remotely. The app you use will also depend on the brand of the product you have installed. If the lightbulb or switch isn’t limited to a single app, then it would be a good idea to do some research and download the app most suited to your needs.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, sign up and follow the prompts to let it use your Wi-Fi to connect to your IoT devices.
Connect To Your IoT Device
Great! Now that you’ve taken the first steps in automating your lights using IoT devices, it’s time to explore your connected devices. Most apps will have a button to add new devices. Once you’ve clicked it, it should show you the available devices you can connect to. The available devices would be your light switch or light bulbs. They should automatically connect once you’ve added them to your app’s list of devices.
Once you have connected your app and your bulbs or switch, it will show you what settings are available on the device. These settings can range from on and off to dimmer or color settings. You can program all of these settings straight from your phone.
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What Can You Program Your IoT Lights Or Switch To Do?
Programming your devices once they are connected to your app is pretty straightforward. Some devices may have different settings than others, but on and off and color changes are just the basic settings built into these appliances.
With the app, there are advanced features that can help you dive into setting timers for your lights, which will switch them on or off at specific times. For example, you can program your bedroom lights to turn on in the morning to help you get up and turn them off later. In addition, TechHive has an easy guide on how to set timers for your lights using the Hue app.
Another excellent use for automated lights is programming them to switch on or off when you leave the house or come home and connect to the Wi-Fi. Then, if you have to leave, you don’t have to try and remember to turn off all the lights.
Most apps for IoT appliances allow you to control these devices remotely. For example, you can toggle your lighting controls via the app – even when you’re away from home. There are plenty of other automations you can program IoT devices to perform via your app. But smart lighting a great starter project when you want to understand how IoT devices work and what they can do.
Breaking into the world of IoT doesn’t have to be daunting. With this easy guide on starting your first smart lighting project, you can get a foot in the door and better understand the basics. If you start with a small project and work your way up, you can be an IoT aficionado in no time.