What are Commercial Home Automation Systems

What is a Smart Downlight?

An intelligent downlight is not a luminaire that has already existed at a university. It does not have a degree and is not educated at a higher level. That's what she does Clever is a smartphone. The ingenuity of the smartphone allows us as a society to do a lot more with lighting products.

In this sense, can every lighting product become intelligent? The answer is yes. You can convert most types of lights into smart lighting products by using an accessory such as a smart light switch or receiver.

If you are considering buying smart lights because you want to control them from your phone, the lights themselves don't have to be smart. Even old-fashioned halogen lamps can get smart without needing a degree in smart lighting. All you need is a smart switch to replace your existing ordinary dimmer or wall switch and turn it into a smart lighting circuit.

A smart switch receives a command from a smartphone and then passes the command to the lights over your Wi-Fi network. Although most brands like Aurora, Lightwave, and Philips all need an additional hub that looks like this:

A hub acts as a gateway and communicates between your smartphone and smart devices such as switches, sockets and smart lighting products. A Wi-Fi network is still required for the hub to operate.

TCP smart switches do not require an additional hub. The app on your smartphone communicates directly with the device. Hubs cost around € 116.46, but if you have one you can use it on around 80 lights or devices on your property.

If you want to experience advanced lighting modes, then you may want to consider lights that have adjustable color temperature or color changing technology. Otherwise, all you have is a glorified dimmer that works from your smartphone. Most apps offer other benefits such as time-controlled settings and scene control, but for a more prudent investment, smart LED lights can do a lot more.

Most dedicated Smart Lighting products can do more than just turn on / off and dim, they adjust to color temperatures, which means you can change the hue of your room in a snap. Or change the color completely from an ambient white light to red, green, blue and something else in between.

Different types of intelligent lighting control

While this is still an emerging industry, there are already several smart lighting control systems that need to be considered:

Fully integrated LED smart downlights

Fully integrated LED Smart Downlights like the TCP Smart 8W Downlight that is shown in the picture below. This special downlight contains everything you need. Your smartphone communicates directly with the downlight; it does not require an additional hub or smart switch.


Integrated LED downlights

Integrated LED downlights such as the Aurora AOne MPRO ZX require an additional hub. Some would argue that more advanced home automation systems can do more with a hub, but it depends on what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to spend. The Aurora AOne system has a wide range of add-ons that allow you to control all types of lighting products from your smartphone or from a handheld remote or wall switch.


Intelligent light switch

Smart Light Switch: By replacing your existing light switch or dimmer switch with a smart light switch, you can convert the lights on the circuit into smart lighting products. The app on your smartphone then communicates with the light switch, which then communicates with the lights. Depending on which smart light switch you choose, you may also need a hub. For example; TCP Smart Switches (see below) do not require a hub, but Aurora AOne and Lightwave do too.

Intelligent receiver

A smart receiver can be connected to a lighting circuit to convert your existing lights into smart lights. Also known as inline dimmers as its either wired between the lights directly to power or between the lights and a switch. You could have a regular light switch on the wall to allow local switching. When the light switch is on, the receiver is active and can send the signal from your smartphone to the lights. Depending on the wiring, the circuit is not supplied with power when the light switch is switched off and the app cannot detect this.

Intelligent receivers are ideal for controlling the LED strip with a smartphone. You can use a stand-alone system with an RF receiver and a Wi-Fi hub for this. Or you can integrate this into your system. Depending on which brand you choose, control of LED strips may be limited to just switching, while other systems can perform full color change controls.

Which brand?

Some brands such as Lichtwelle only offer electrical accessories such as switches, sockets and heating controls. Some brands only do lightbulb and downlights, but some brands like Aurora do it all with their AOne Smart series.

Choosing the right brand for you depends on what you want to achieve with your home automation lighting adventure. You might consider installing a full home automation system like the Lutron or Crestron, which will require programming and additional components so that you can dim your phone's lights. Or maybe you are just interested in a number of smart downlights for a room that you can switch automatically with a timer setting.

If you are looking for an inexpensive system then the TCP Smart range would be my first recommendation. However, this system is limited as there are currently only smart switches for 1 and 2 groups. It is better for room by room than for whole houses.

If you are looking for a retrofit solution (i.e. replace your existing switch) Lightwave Smart Series (formally Gen2) is a great system with a full range of intelligent switches from 1 to 4 bands. Your switches can be programmed for master or slave operation and 2-way dimming or even 3-way dimming - this basically allows you to dim the same light from several points in the room.

Lightwave The Smart Series also has bidirectional communication, so the app always knows which elements have been switched on and off. It can also monitor energy consumption without the need for any additional accessories. However, they do not offer lighting products and their range is very limited, especially if you want to control LED strips or other non-standard lighting products.

Aurora AOne smart system is the best for lighting, it creates more confidence because they have fully tested their lighting products with their smart lighting system. You don't have to gamble or do your own testing to ensure compatibility. Aurora has already done this for you and can be found here.

Different apps

For those who started out with smart lighting products, there may be several apps available, each with different functions. Your ideal scenario is to have an app that controls everything. This way you can set up a scene for multiple lights or sockets in your house and everything will turn off with the push of a button or with a timed sequence. The possibilities are almost endless, especially when you've got color-changing lighting.

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Notice; The app is the software you use daily to control switches / sockets / lights, so it's worth comparing which app works, the best for you as a priority. Some systems like Aurora AOne can be accessed on their app through the dedicated AOne hub, or you can buy the cheaper Samsung SmartThings Hub and use their software instead. This is because both continue to work on the Zigbee protocol.

Why smart

There is no doubt that smart lighting products are technologically advanced. Here are some key reasons why you should get smart:

  1. Change, dim or change the colors conveniently from your smartphone.
  2. Group luminaires into rooms or zones and control them individually or together.
  3. Scene setting - at the push of a button, for example, you can dim a group of lights in one area of ​​the room to 30%, turn on a table lamp, change the color temperature from cool white to warm white, turn on the LED tape to red, etc. Any combination that your lights in the Location can be set to a “scene” and named accordingly, eg B. party scene, goodnight scene or cozy night in scene.
  4. Automated timed sequences mean you can set automations that turn your lights on and off at specific times of the day. Maybe you're on vacation and want to pretend you're still home? A good advertisement for smart lighting products could be for a new one Home alone Film with Macaulay Culkin sat relaxed while he pressed the buttons on his smartphone to deter intruders and protect his home.
  5. One of the most popular reasons to buy a smart downlight is voice control. Voice-controlled dimming is easily possible with many systems. Together with an Alexa or Google Home device, you can control your lights with your voice. All you have to do is set up the commands and your voice becomes a kind of switch.
  6. Not too many smart downlights with color changing effects are currently available. The Crompton Spectrum recessed luminaire has a central main light with adjustable color temperature and a color changing edge. The edge (see image below) creates a halo effect. Using the Crompton Phoebe Spectrum App or Smart Switch you can adjust the color temperature and change the colors of the halo. Your app is limited to controlling this downlight. You cannot add other products to the system.

Smart downlights versus smart lamps

The Philips Hue GU10 LED has boosted the industry and remains the market leader, but it comes at a price. For example, you can get 3 TCP Smart GU10 LEDs for the price of 1 Philips Hue. Taken in and of itself, it is just an intelligent light bulb into which a light such as a downlight or a wall lamp must be built. The Philips Hue is physically larger and requires more depth GU10 downlights like the Integrated EvoFire.

Once you've built a smart lamp into a downlight, you have essentially created your own smart downlight.

You can now purchase integrated LED smart downlights that are all in one unit. Not only are these easier to order and faster to install, they also cost less. If you compare all the components involved in a Philips Hue setup such as LED, bridge and downlight with a downlight integrated in TCP.