Smart light bulbs: never be in the dark again

Technology is no longer just on our laps and in our pockets; it’s now in our homes, on our walls and in our ceilings. Home automation started out as science fiction, which developed into toys for the rich to play with. But now times have changed and the home automation and smart device markets are heaving with cool, affordable gadgets.

Heating and cooling systems that know when to turn on and off, refrigerators that notify you when you’re out of milk and my personal favourite, smart light bulbs.

Recently, I bought a smart light bulb and I have not regretted it once.

Before I got the smart light bulb, every time I went into my room and turned the light on, I never felt like the light was making much difference. For example, when reading a book at night-time, the yellowy haze was never bright enough to illuminate the pages; I always found myself turning on multiple table lamps and trying to direct the light when I desperately needed it.

Student budgets don’t exactly cater for tech enthusiasts so at £50+ per bulb, you’re not exactly going to kit the whole house out with them. Thankfully, if you look at it in a different way, it doesn’t seem so bad.

There are many benefits to using LED light bulbs in general, smart or not. Not only are they made from less hazardous materials but their production also contributes less to pollution compared to other types of bulbs. LEDs have a longer life as they can last up to a staggering 40,000 hours compared to incandescent bulbs that typically last 1,000 to 2,000 hours.

LED bulbs are always more expensive initially but that doesn’t mean you wont get your money back. Not only will you buy fewer light bulbs but turning on one smart light bulb rather than having lots of lamps can make a significant difference to those pesky electricity bills.

The quality of the light is something I have never seen before. Smart light bulbs allow you to have the crispest white light or the warmest sunny glow; it just depends on when it’s suitable. When studying, I use the harsher white light so that I don’t strain to read and to keep me awake. When watching a film in the evening, a softer, mellower light is preferred.

Ambience: noun, the character and atmosphere of a place. Frankly, having a smart light bulb means you can fill your room with all the colours of the rainbow. Even better are the effects the smart light bulb comes with. It can candlelight flicker, lava lamp bubble and mimic a night club with the fit inducing strobe effect and the ‘wait for the drop’ music visualiser. House parties will never be the same again.

Practically, I love the way you use smart light bulbs. Anyone in a household can control it. You can be anywhere in the home or even anywhere around the world and you can potentially control the bulb. Being able to get into bed and set a timer for the smart light bulb to turn off from a phone or tablet is ideal. In the winter months, I look forward to setting the light to turn on to coax me out of bed in the mornings.

The little steps that we make towards home automation and the Internet of things is so exciting. I’ve only been using my smart light bulb for a few weeks, but it has revolutionised the way I use lighting in the home and I now appreciate the different qualities of light. Technology is becoming increasingly cheap and accessible; soon everyone’s homes will have smart elements. Smart light bulbs can truly make your home just that little bit better.

Photo Credit: Swallia23 via Compfight cc

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I'm a Computer Science student at the University of Nottingham and I like to think that procrastination is another form of keeping busy.

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