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What You Need to Know About Smart Light Bulbs | The Allstate Blog

What You Need to Know About Smart Light Bulbs

Have you ever forgotten to turn off a light in your home and been consumed by that thought as you drive to work? Or maybe, you're napping on the couch and the light switch just feels too far away to get up and turn off. Well, thanks to smart light… Allstate https://i0.wp.com/blog.allstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/smartphone-turning-on-lights_iStock_cropped.jpg?fit=684%2C456&ssl=1
Person controlling the lights in their home with an app on their smartphone.

Have you ever forgotten to turn off a light in your home and been consumed by that thought as you drive to work? Or maybe, you’re napping on the couch and the light switch just feels too far away to get up and turn off. Well, thanks to smart light bulbs, you can turn these lights off with either your smartphone or voice. Watch as home maintenance experts The Handyguys explain how smart bulbs work and how you can install them in your home.

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PAUL: Welcome to The Handyguys and today we’re going to talk about light bulbs.

BRIAN: That’s right, Paul. The simple light bulb has been around for about 150 years, but now, we have something else.

PAUL: Right, today we now have smart bulbs.

PAUL: They’re LED bulbs much like this older LED bulb, but this is a dumb bulb.

PAUL: It just good as on and off.

PAUL: These LED bulbs have some intelligence.

BRIAN: That’s right. They can be controlled by your smart phone. They can change colors. They can change brightness — all kinds of things.

PAUL: So, the question is how do they work?

BRIAN: Right, you don’t need to install any fancy switches.

BRIAN: You don’t need to do any electrical work.

BRAN: You just — if you can screw in a light bulb — you can do the physical install of these no problem.

PAUL: Right, so just by installing these like any old-fashioned light bulb — you screw it in — you’ll be able to you set these on and off with a standard light switch and a standard lamp.

PAUL: They essentially work either over your Wi-Fi or they work with a hub or they work with a voice app on your phone.

BRIAN: Right, or a virtual assistant, if you have one.

PAUL: Exactly. So, you know they’re pretty cool, but we need to talk about what all the features are.

PAUL: Are they worth it?

PAUL: What can we do with these smart bulbs, Brian?

BRIAN: That’s right, so one of the things that I have is those mechanical timers.

BRIAN: You set the time for a light that you plug into the timer.

BRIAN: You set the time on and time off and it controls that light.

BRIAN: Well, now you don’t need to do that.

BRIAN: You can do that all in a smart app and control each of these bulbs individually to come on and off certain times of the day.

PAUL: Or, as a group, if you want, and so you can set them for a room and have them go on and off based on a timer which you would set up on the smart app that’s available for the particular brand of smart bulb that you’re using.

PAUL: So, that’s pretty cool, but Brian, I like the feature where you can have them go off automatically when you leave your, you know, driveway.

BRIAN: That’s right. That’s called geofencing and that’s used in a number of different kind of apps.

BRIAN: But with the light bulbs, you can set it so that when you leave your house a certain group of lights or all of them turn off and when you approach the house you can even be a say a mile away and you want to have all the lights come on.

BRIAN: You can do that, as well.

PAUL: So, it triggers the geofence.

BRIAN: That’s right.

PAUL: But the other cool feature, which we’ve kind of hinted at, is that they can if you have certain kinds of smart bulbs they can change colors.

PAUL: So, for instance, you could set them green for Christmas.

PAUL: You could set them as orange for Halloween or you could set up various scenes for you know different things you do about the day.

PAUL: So, these are smart bulbs but there are some drawbacks. In perhaps, the drawbacks you know may mean that someone may not be interested in these smart bulbs.

PAUL: But, what are the drawbacks?

BRIAN: That’s right. One of the biggest ones for me is the cost.

BRIAN: So, these bulbs are going to run two to four times the price of a regular LED bulb which is already on the expensive side compared to what we used to pay for the incandescent bulbs.

PAUL: Right, so they cost a lot more.

PAUL: But, there’s also the challenge of configuring it so it isn’t really just plug it in and you’re ready to go with all the intelligent features.

BRIAN: Right. So, a lot of these will require some kind of a smart hub.

BRIAN: The manufacturer will specify what they need or they’re going to need to hook up to your Wi-Fi.

BRIAN: They’re going to have to have an app of some type and like we said a virtual assistant.

BRIAN: So, you’re going to need to make all these disparate technologies work together.

PAUL: And another thing, Brian, is you essentially have to treat these like another computer.

BRIAN: That’s right. They’re going to need software security updates and patches.

BRIAN: All of that good stuff just like your laptop or smartphone does.

PAUL: Exactly. So, there you have it the old-fashioned Edison bulb has been replaced by LEDs, CFLs and now smart bulbs.

PAUL: They come in different shapes for different lights.

PAUL: You know recessed lights, your standard lamps, but again, they’re not necessarily plug-and-play.

PAUL: You really need to get into the technology.

PAUL: But once you do, they’re pretty cool.

Brian: Alright.

PAUL: So, there you have it, thanks for watching The Handyguys.

BRIAN: Thanks.