Smart Lighting refers to digitally controlled lights or lighting circuits. Simply put, you don't need to physically flip a switch to turn on the lights.
Smart lights have become one of the staples of any home automation setup, as they are relatively easy to install but can offer the users a lot of benefit.
You might be thinking, "I don't really see the benefit of smart lighting; it's not that much effort to flip the switch and turn on the light as I'm doing today". You would be correct; this function alone offers little benefit. However, smart lighting goes a lot further than being able to turn on the light without getting off the couch.
Let's run through a couple of different examples:
1. You and your family often get home after dark. You come home to a dark house and have to spend time fumbling around for the light switch. Not only is this annoying, it can be a security risk as a dark home at night can be a target for burglars.
With smart lighting you could set up an automation routine to turn on certain lights in your house when the sun goes down, eliminating this problem while also giving to the added benefit of never having to worry about turning on the lights at night. You can take this one step further, enabling presence detection using your mobile phone. This means that you can have an automation detect if you and your family are not home after dark, and the automation will then turn lights on and off, simulating normal activity in the home and deterring any would be burglars.
2. Your home has multiple occupants. You find it's a constant battle to have everyone turn off the lights once they have left a room.
This problem can be solved by simply pairing a motion sensor with your smart lights, then setting an automation to wait 5 mins after activity has been detected before turning off the lights in that room, saving energy and arguments in the home.
These are only a couple of scenarios to outline some basic examples and show you some of the benefits of smart lighting, but what you can achieve is really only limited by your imagination.
Smart lighting can save you money, not only in energy usage, but if you take into account how easy it is to expand its capabilities (e.g. in the above example regarding adding sensors to every room of your home to control the lights in each room).
However, in most cases you would need to get an electrician in to either wire in a PIR sensor or swap the entire light fitting with one that has a PIR built in. Doing this in each room, the cost would add up very quickly.
With smart lighting you can get a low cost PIR sensor that is battery powered (often lasts 2 years between battery changes) and simply stick it up on the wall or ceiling and you're ready to go.
Below is a list of features that most smart lighting systems offer:
Light grouping (turn on/off all lights in a certain area of your home e.g outside)
Energy monitoring (see how much power each light is consuming)
Color changing (note: only RGB and RGBW light strips offer this)
Animations (flash/change the color of the lights for certain events e.g the alarm going off)
Automations (even if you are not connecting smart lights to a hub/controller, automations are often available via the lighting app on your smartphone)
Color temperatures (change from bright white to warm white) (note: not all bulbs support this)
The below videos explain smart lighting in more detail and show you what can be achieved: