February 12, 2020
What Can You Do with Smart Light Bulbs? Top Uses for Smart Lights
security lights: Smart light bulbs offer customizable control and automation
Remember The Clapper? To turn on the lights, clap your hands. To turn them off, clap again. It was a fun and pretty useful device when the commercials saturated TV in the 80s. But the years have gone by and remote-control lighting is all grown up.
The “Internet of Things (IoT)” adds wireless internet connectivity to numerous ordinary objects so everyday tasks can be automated or controlled from anywhere. There are smart smoke detectors, smart door locks, smart refrigerators, and a host of other household devices—including smart lights.
Smart lighting, which uses devices such as Frontpoint’s Light Bulbs and Wireless Light Controls, applies the principles of home networking and automation to illumination. By allowing the lights to communicate with the internet through a central hub, you can control them from your phone, put them on schedules, or tie their operation to specific events.
While some smart lighting systems rely on Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity, Frontpoint’s technology uses Z-Wave, a low-energy radio wave that is more reliable and uses less energy.
With this technology, the possibilities of smart lighting go far beyond just turning a light on and off. You can dim bulbs, set lights on a timer, preprogram certain settings, have lights respond to cues from other smart devices, and more.
The possibilities are nearly endless.
In this article, we look at some of the brightest applications for smart lighting and explain how you can do it with a Frontpoint system. These include:
- Never coming home to a dark house
- Making it look like you’re at home when you’re not
- Setting the “scene”
- Providing crucial light during emergencies
But first, let’s look at the different ways Frontpoint lets you automate various aspects of your home.
automates your home with scenes, schedules, and rules
To control your smart lighting and various other devices, Frontpoint gives you three automation options:
- Scenes, or preset displays that can be activated with a single tap
- Rules, which are scenes that activate based on some condition
- Schedules, or recurring scenes that happen on a timer
You can always tap a button to control each device in your smart home. But to save time and effort, Frontpoint lets you preprogram these functions by logging in to my.frontpointsecurity.com or through your Frontpoint App.
Scenes are simple, preprogrammed displays
When you create a new scene, you preselect the state for each smart device while the scene is active. For instance, you might create a scene that you name “Bedtime” where you program all of your intrusion sensors to arm, the Smart Door Locks to lock, and various smart lights to shut off. When you activate this scene with the tap of a button, an event, or through a voice command with a connected Siri, Amazon Echo, or Google Home device, all of the equipment does this automatically.
Rules let you set conditions for certain scenes
A rule is a scene that is activated based on a specific event or condition; it works like an “if-then” statement, telling your Frontpoint system “If X, do Y.” For instance, you might create an event-triggered rule that turns on all the lights whenever an armed security sensor sends an alert.
One of the most useful ways to program rules is Frontpoint’s geo-services feature. As long as geo-services are activated in your Frontpoint app and your phone shares your location, you have access to some powerful stuff. By designating a “geofence” boundary, you can program your devices to perform different functions when you enter or leave a certain area.
Schedules put your home on a timer
A schedule is a recurring scene that runs on a timer. You might create a schedule (which you could name “Welcome home”) that turns on the house lights 15 minutes before you usually get home from work.
Let’s look at some examples of useful scenes, rules, and schedules that you can set up:
light bulbs mean you never have to come home to a dark house
Coming home to a dark house isn’t pleasant, and an unlit home can be a target for burglars. If you work late year-round or don’t get home before the sun sets during winter, you can make sure the lights are on before you get there.
One way to do this is with a specific command. Just choose which lights you want to turn on—perhaps the lights on your porch, in your foyer, and in your kitchen—and create a scene. When the sun sets or you leave work, just tap a button.
Setting a schedule, however, is even more convenient. Just program your lights to turn on at a set time.
But what if you get home early? Another option is to use a rule. For instance, set up a rule (active in the evenings) that turns on your lights when your Garage Door Tilt Sensor sends a signal that you’re home.
Alternatively—and this is perhaps the coolest feature—use a geo-services rule to switch on your lights when your phone signals that you are nearing the house.
lights make it look like you’re at home, even when you’re away
As researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill found when they interviewed hundreds of convicted burglars, would-be crooks mostly avoid breaking into occupied houses. Empty targets substantially reduce their risk of being caught or having a violent altercation with a resident.
Burglars determine whether someone is home using a variety of cues including the state of the yard, whether mail and newspapers are piling up, whether cars are in the driveway, and if the lights are off in a house when they should normally be lit.
Many people leave a light on when they stay out late or go out of town. But frankly, a single light isn’t a huge deterrent. If it stays on during the day for a long vacation, for example, it’s really just a beacon saying, “I’m not home!” while using up electricity. As Samantha Nolan of the D.C. Metropolitan Police told NPR, “People who leave their lights on during the day and they're on 24 hours a day actually attract attention from burglars.” Adding a timer can help, but timers tend to look rather, well, robotic.
This is where lighting scenes that are set to a predetermined schedule come in. Create a more effective burglar deterrent by programming a realistic light “show” that makes it look like people are naturally moving through the house. This can as simple as having lights in different rooms turn on and off. Or you can program something more complex by plugging appliances like TVs or radios into Frontpoint’s Wireless Light Controls to create a somewhat more … “Home Alone-Esque” display:
mood with scene lighting
Variety may be the spice of life, but little traditions like date night, family movie night, and dinner parties add so much enjoyment to our lives. And different kinds of light set the mood for different activities. To get the most out of your favorite traditions, consider setting up convenient lighting scenes.
Movie night made easy
Setting a scene for movie night is easy. Program all of the lights in the den to go off when you activate it, or maybe leave a few bulbs on but dimmed for ambiance (and finding the remote). Either way, you can wrangle the kids, get cozy with some blankets, turn on the movie, and not have to get up and fuss with lights. Just tap a button or issue a voice command and you’re set.
Make hosting less hectic
Getting together with friends and relatives for a dinner party is a great tradition, but hosting involves a lot of planning. A preprogrammed “dinner party” scene means one less thing to think about.
For a cozy get-together, ditch the overhead lighting by turning off the ceiling light fixtures, and turn on lamps and other indirect lights. Slightly dimming the lights is also a good idea. When the first guests arrive, just press a button on your phone or, if you have a voice assistant, tell Siri, Google Home, or Amazon Echo to “set dinner party lights.”
switch—turn lights on and off automatically with motion sensors
Did your parents obsess over turning off lights to save on the power bill? And now that you pay these bills, do you nag your kids? Using your smart lights and Motion Sensors, you can program a rule that turns lights on and off if motion is or isn’t detected.
Programming a rule like this is easy. Create a new rule for each room where you want this functionality. First click “Add new rule,” and then “Event-triggered rule.”
From there, you can choose the light fixtures that you want to turn on, determine if you’d like a motion to control them, and even note how long you want the lights to stay lit. Make sure to specify what time the rule is active, though. You don’t want to turn on all of the lights between your bedroom and the kitchen just because you need a late-night snack.
security lights show the way
Environmental and intrusion detectors are core features of a smart home. Smoke and Heat Sensors, CO Sensors, Glass Break Sensors, Door/Window Sensors, Motion Sensors, and more provide awareness in critical moments. For added security, consider pairing the operation of your environmental and intrusion sensors with smart lighting, so you aren’t fumbling in the dark when an alert is triggered.
Whether it’s from an environmental sensor or an intrusion detector, an alarm sounding in the middle of the night is disorienting. You’re hit with so many questions at once. What’s happening? Where are the kids? Is there a fire? Is someone in the house? Make things a little easier on yourself (and harder on intruders) by programming a rule that turns on all the lights when an alarm goes off.
bulbs and home automation provide security and comfort
Automating the lights in your home with preprogrammed scenes, schedules, and rules provides so many useful applications.
You can light up your house before you arrive. You can set up realistic light displays to scare off burglars. You can set the mood for movie night, date night, or dinner parties. You can keep utility bills down by programming lights to switch on and off automatically. Smart lights can even help save lives in an emergency.
And those are only a few potential uses for Frontpoint smart lighting technology. If you can envision something, you can probably program it.
Frontpoint keeps families safer and more connected in their everyday lives. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.