Smart lighting provides the perfect entry-point to smart technology for the home; practical, convenient and surprisingly simple to install, smart lighting is a small change that adds up to a big difference.
As is the case with most home improvements, there are questions to consider before getting started.
For example, you will want to consider exactly how far you intend to take your smart home upgrades. Are you planning on sticking with smart lighting, or will you be adding further connected devices and appliances to your network?
More importantly, have you considered what may be involved with the installation process?
There are four important questions you need to ask yourself prior to getting started; once you have covered each of the following, you will be in a much better position to find your perfect smart lighting technology and get the most out of your new gadgets:
Should I Buy Smart Plugs, Switches or Bulbs?
It is important to remember that the ‘smart lighting’ category actually encompasses a wide range of products. The three main sub-categories you will need to make sense of are smart bulbs, smart switches and smart plugs; each of which is designed with different buyer preferences in mind and can be often combined with other devices to create a home-wide smart technology.
Here is a brief overview of their features, functionalities and main differences:
- Smart Bulbs – A smart bulb can be connected wirelessly to a mobile device, enabling a wide variety of settings to be changed at the touch of a button. For example, you can change the colour or intensity of the lighting, or set up a schedule for the bulb to turn on and off.
- Smart Plugs– Compatible with most lighting features and fixtures at home, this is a simple plug-and-play device that enables you to turn your lights on and off remotely. Though the features of a smart plug are limited to simple on/off functionality.
- Smart Switches – The latest smart switches provide the best of both worlds and provide access to the broadest range of features. They work with existing light features and enable the user to take full control over all aspects of their home’s lighting via any connected mobile device.
A smart bulb differs from a smart switch in that a bulb is simply a bulb. By contrast, a smart switch is a more precise control point that can be used with existing lighting technology.
Am I Interested in Alexa, Google and Siri?
Some of the more advanced smart switches on the market are designed to be compatible with popular voice assistants. Examples of which include Amazon Alexa, Google Home and SmartThings, all of which make it possible to control your homes lighting with simple voice commands.
For example, you could say something like “Alexa, turn on the lights in the living room” or “Hey Google, dim the living room lights” and that is exactly what will happen. There are a range of smart light switches compatible with Alexa and other similar devices.
Voice assistants are playing a more integral role in the everyday lives of millions of households. If you already use voice assistants as convenience tools around the home, it makes sense to install smart lighting technology that is compatible with your voice assistant.
Are Your Light Bulbs Compatible?
Not all light bulbs are compatible with all types of smart switches, as would be the case when installing a traditional dimmer switch; you need to check compatibility beforehand.
This is something the manufacturer of the smart switch you are interested in will be able to lend a hand with, if you can tell them the exact types of bulbs you already have installed they will be able to tell you whether they are compatible.
Swapping out your current bulbs for those that are compatible with your chosen smart switch is unlikely to break the bank. Even the best bulbs on the market with a near-indefinite lifespan have become far more affordable as of late.
How Much Will the Upgrade Cost?
Considering the cost of the upgrade means taking two things into account:
- The costs of the smart switches themselves
- The costs of professional installation (if required)
One of the best ways of keeping costs down is to opt for a simple smart lighting system you can install yourself. EVVR’s In-Wall Relay Zigbee light switch has been designed to operate with no neutral wire required. This means you have total freedom to install smart lighting technology throughout the entire home, with no complex rewiring necessary.
You do not necessarily have to install smart lighting in every room of the home. Rooms in which you don’t spend a great deal of time may be just fine to leave with their current on/off switches.
ZigBee Versus Z-Wave
Zigbee and Z-Wave are the two most popular dedicated smart home wireless protocols on the market. When shopping for smart switches, these are the two standards you will usually encounter.
Though different in a technological sense, both of these wireless protocols are designed with the same basic purpose in mind; they create an independent ‘mesh’ network in your home where your wireless devices communicate independently with one another, without relying on your Wi-Fi router.
Zigbee devices use a 2.4 GHz frequency or 915 MHz frequency, while Z-Wave devices use a frequency of 908.42 MHz to communicate with one another. This subsequently means that it is not possible to combine the two mesh networks into one unified mesh network for the home, as they operate on entirely different frequencies.
While Z-Wave technically has a better range and faster data transmission speed than Zigbee, both perform with equal effectiveness in the vast majority of homes. The biggest difference of all is the price, Zigbee devices are significantly cheaper than their Z-Wave counterparts without compromising on quality or performance.
Learn More about the EVVR Zigbee Light Switch
The EVVR In-Wall Relay Switch (IRS) provides the perfect entry point to smart lighting technology, for homes with or without a neutral wire. A Zigbee 3.0 no neutral wire smart switch can be installed and activated in no time, with absolutely no minimum load requirements, no size limitations and no need for a neutral wire.
Our innovative IRS has been engineered with Smart Relay and Smart Switch Sub-Assembly, making it easy to connect it with your existing lighting system and install additional smart lighting technology around the home.
For more information on the EVVR In-Wall Relay Switch (IRS) with no neutral wire required, visit our product page or contact a member of our customer support team today.