With the rise of convenience and energy-saving technology, smart lighting systems are quickly becoming a popular choice.
It can be difficult to choose which smart light is best for your needs as different types vary in how they communicate with your device or home network.
Three widely used protocols for modern smart lighting systems are Bluetooth, ZigBee and Wi-Fi. Each offers its unique benefits as well as drawbacks depending on the situation.
Smart lighting systems is the perfect solution for those seeking to save energy in their home. In comparison to LED bulbs, smart lights have automated controls that make it easy to adapt their settings based on external factors like occupancy or daylight availability.
Smart lights are connected to the network, as well as a variety of wireless devices such as Bluetooth, Zigbee and Wi-Fi. Instead of relying on traditional remote controls, they can be conveniently accessed through an app that offers more versatility in managing your lighting system.
Bluetooth smart lights are an extension of the traditional Bluetooth system, designed for applications for the home, healthcare, fitness and security industries. It is a wireless personal area network technology with a short range of 30 feet.
Bluetooth smart lights run on the 2.4GHz ISM band while using minimal energy. Its connection time between devices is short and it occurs at a high speed, before quickly shifting into "sleep mode" until another reconnection is requested - this ensures that very little power will be expended for every operation.
Moreover, Bluetooth smart lights are an easy-to-use, cost-effective alternative to other lighting systems. With your smartphone or compatible controller, you can manage these lights with ease and enjoy the benefits of a low price tag.
Unfortunately, Bluetooth smart lights cannot be operated from afar. If you forget to switch off the lights before heading out, you won't have a way of controlling them any more. Therefore, it is advisable that you create a schedule for your lighting system so that all devices turn on or off when necessary before leaving home.
Other than that, Bluetooth smart lights are designed with a 1-to-1 connection model, meaning that one phone can only connect to and control the bulbs at any given moment. In homes with multiple devices, this means that only one device will be able to interact and use the bulbs during each session.
ZigBee has slightly more advanced technology with low power consumption, utilising the mesh networking protocol which allows each device to have its own wireless signal.
With the mesh networking protocol, devices are capable of communicating with one another through a central smart hub. If one of the devices disconnects, alternative routes are available to ensure continuous system availability.
ZigBee stands out from other technologies with its short-range capabilities, low complexity and power consumption, as well as fast data transmission. Furthermore, it is designed to form ad hoc networks where nodes can be added or removed without affecting the functionality of the system.
With ZigBee, using a smart hub may be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it helps eliminate certain connection concerns; on the other hand, an additional $50 is added to your total cost for your smart lighting systems.
As such, ZigBee can be pricier compared to other options but is still worth investing in.
Wi-Fi is a type of local area network technology based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard, and takes the most processing power in comparison to Bluetooth and ZigBee. Wi-Fi smart lighting technology requires the Internet to operate, and it can be power intensive and can often only last around 10 hours.
The setup process can be complicated and pricey too. Wi-Fi smart lighting systems are most effective when placed near an adapter and router.
If you wish to install the lights at a distance, you may need to use an extender; however, this could cause significant delays or lags in connection speed. To ensure optimal performance, your system should be situated near its corresponding hardware components.
Wi-Fi smart lights allow for unlimited control from virtually any distance, so long as you have access to the internet. With this power comes a risk - if your connection is lost or disrupted, your ability to manage and operate these devices will be limited until it's resolved.
Smart Lights' Compatibility
It is important to remember that certain smart lighting systems are capable of supporting more than one protocol. For example, a smart light can be compatible with both Wi-Fi and ZigBee protocols.
Other than that, it is possible to have different smart lights work together under the same roof. Even though they are not compatible in a direct way, you can easily connect them with either a free web or an app.
In summary, Bluetooth, ZigBee and Wi-Fi smart lights all offer different advantages for controlling lighting in your home or office. Depending on your individual needs, any of these three options could work well for your smart home setup.
It all boils down to your requirements and preferences - would you like remote control of your smart lighting fixtures, what speed do you require, how many lights need connection, and most crucially: how much are you willing to invest? Answering these questions will help determine the best choice for you.