"Connected lighting" is a term for lighting solutions which can be controlled with a smartphone to create the perfect ambience anywhere in the home. It's a popular purchase and will be many people's first encounter with smart home technology.
There are several types of connected lighting, some better than others. In the long run, while it's fun to remotely control your lights with your phone, you'll get more value from a solution that offers real automation, powered by a smart home platform.
Here's what you need to know about the three main types of connected lighting hardware.
Smart bulbs are what they sound like: bulbs that screw into your existing light sockets and connect wirelessly to your home's network or hub. They're simple to install but have little connectivity with other devices in your home.
How to install: Screw the bulb in, and connect to your home network. If you're comfortable configuring devices, installation should be straightforward.
Now we're getting smarter. These devices plug into a wall socket, with a lamp plugged into the device itself. Once you're configured, you can start automating the lamp based on your smart home platform.
How to install: Smart plugs are smarter because they tend to be part of a system, connected to the Internet and a platform via a hub. To install a smart plug, you'll need to pair it successfully with a hub. This can be tricky, requiring some troubleshooting and time.
For completely connected lighting, smart switches are the solution of choice. Unlike a smart plug, they can also control your hardwired ceiling lights. They also provide the best aesthetic look: they don't take up a wall socket, and look as good (if not better) than standard light switches.
How to install: Smart switches are hardwired into your wall like standard light switches. As this requires expertise with wiring, power and switch configuration, smart switches are best installed by a professional.
As more and more things are getting connected, managing your "smart" home can quickly become a complicated task. A separate app to control each part of your home can mean you'll spend more time sorting through apps than actually getting on with your busy life. At Alarm.com we believe that the connected home should make things smarter and simpler. So we integrate all your devices in a single app.
Every Thing In One App
We designed and engineered our app around the connected home so you can access all of the key features in your account from a single screen. Displayed together on the app's home screen, feature cards give you a real-time, at a glance view of what's happening all around your home. Whether you want to know if you left the garage door open or you have that feeling that you forgot to lock the back door again, you can quickly put your mind at ease.
With one-touch commands it's also easier to manage the devices and systems around your home. Now you can control any device with a single tap. So if you did forget to lock that back door, you can take action and secure it from anywhere too.
Along with the streamlined architecture we've added key new features to make it easier to control your system. Live, HD video feeds now stream directly from the home screen, and one tap opens the video details screen where you can access the live-stream from another camera or view your smart clip video gallery. Thumbnail images show what's happening in each clip so it's easy to find the video you're looking for.
You can also see the status of all the doors and windows in your home from the security details screen, and even view a complete history of activity in your home and on your account. Instead of going around your home each night to make sure everything's secure the Alarm.com mobile app gives you a complete, real-time status update.
Alarm.com lets our users connect to their homes in completely new ways. Real-time alerts and notifications to your smart phone let you know when a door opens or the security system is disarmed. It's personalized so you can keep tabs on just the activities that you care about.
Our app lets you create new notifications and activate or deactivate existing ones no matter where you go. So as you're racing out of town for a get-away weekend you can add a trusted neighbor to your alert list to help keep an eye
on things at home while you're gone.
Your Home, Your Solution
One of the great aspects of Alarm.com is that it lets our users choose the right connected home solution from our wide range of devices, features and services. Whether you have an interactive security system, a completely connected home or something in between, the new app will make it easier for you to access information you care about and control devices and systems around your home.
Would you like lower energy bills? Most homeowners would, so it's no surprise that after home security, saving energy is the most popular reason to install smart home technology.
The right smart thermostat can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs annually, while also keeping your family more comfortable. Unlike programmable thermostats, they're easy to use and come with more ways to save energy than simple scheduling.
What defines a smart thermostat?
All smart thermostats are different, but share common features.
1: Innovative controls: smart thermostats are easier to operate than standard programmable thermostats. Most come with a smartphone app, giving you control of your home's temperature from home or away, as well as a more intuitive interface on the thermostat itself
2: Sensors: as well as a temperature sensor, many smart thermostats have additional sensors such as motion sensors to detect activity, or remote temperature sensors for other rooms.
Smart Thermostat RTS Beginners.jpg
3: Automation: smart thermostats process intelligence from their sensors into automatic actions. The term ‘smart' describes their ability to learn your activity patterns—or better yet, to react to activity in real time—in order to save energy or make things comfortable automatically, according to your preferences.
Tips for buyers:
1: More information = smarter thermostat. As a rule, the more sensors a smart thermostat has access to, the better it can read your activity to anticipate your family's needs, and the better your experience will be.
Alarm.com's smart thermostat is connected to every sensor in the house, including remote temperature sensors that give you precision comfort targeted to specific rooms. It even uses your smartphone as a sensor, enabling it to anticipate when you'll arrive home, and get the temperature perfect.
2: Compatibility matters. Smart devices should work together with other devices seamlessly. If you know you're going to upgrade your whole home with smart technology, look for a smart thermostat powered by a cloud platform.
A whole-home platform like Alarm.com integrates the home's thermostat into an intelligent ecosystem with other devices connected to your security system. You can control your thermostat through the system's smartphone app, as well as via voice control or with a smart watch.
3: Installation can be tricky. To install a smart thermostat yourself, you'll need knowledge
You can have your lights turn on automatically when you're on your way home, for example, or when you disarm your smart home security system or unlock your front door's smart lock. You can also integrate them into automation 'scenes', where you control multiple devices with the touch of a single button on your smartphone.