The smart lighting revolution explained

Smart technology in homes is nothing new, and for years there has been an ever-expanding market for the latest technological innovations designed to make our lives easier. From stand-alone devices to just monitor our energy usage to fully inbuilt digital assistants, there is equipment available for every job. However, OCTO smart lighting is the first of these to come along that will truly revolutionise the way we build residential houses as well as commercial offices, and in the way we manage energy.

Smart lighting is convenient, useful, and a great way to provide sustainability in reducing energy usage, but it's more than just turning your lights on and off hands-free. With a bit of imagination and the right installation process, it is possible to transform the usability and comfort of your home and office in a way that improves health and wellbeing too. Let's take a look at how that's possible.

How does smart lighting work?

Smart lighting is an interconnected system of connected lights and switches as well as connected plugs which work in harmony together to give total control over every aspect of the lighting application. Being totally scalable, the OCTO smart lighting solution can mean connecting just a single room all the way to connecting an entire house and garden or a whole commercial office complex being decked out with smart lighting. Every unit in the system is connected via WiFi or Bluetooth and can be programmed separately to act independently, by acting upon voice commands, thus creating the perfect combination of automation and usability.

All lighting can be controlled from anywhere within the house or office as well as remotely off-premise. Typically, users choose to determine when lights turn on and off, their brightness, their intensity and their colour - but the possibilities are endless!

Benefits of residential smart lighting 

Ever since electric lighting was originally installed into homes and offices, the only way of controlling the lighting was by a simple toggle switch located near the door. Whilst it's a practical and workable solution, it's hardly representative of the modern way you use your home. Until recently, the technology was not available to allow the installation of a fully connected lighting system at home.

Due to escalating property prices, which can often outstrip affordability, homeowners are looking to extend or remodel their current properties, which in many cases results in the removal of the dividing wall between ground floor spaces providing a more open plan appearance of the space. This can be enhanced by the installation of bi-folding doors to the rear garden, allowing increased natural light into the larger space. This change in living has made the traditional lighting solutions somewhat redundant and creates a challenge for the installer to provide the customer with an aesthetically pleasing solution which is controllable, energy-efficient and virtually maintenance-free.

This scenario provides an ideal platform upon which to install the OCTO smart lighting system as its features and benefits will provide an optimum solution for environments which require different lighting scenes for various tasks throughout the day and night.

Customisation

With OCTO smart lighting, you can programme your smart lights to respond to your lighting needs in any way you want. Whether that's voice or motion activation for hands-free use, timed activation or shut-off, or mood lighting for different times of day, it can all be achieved with your voice or through the app. It can even be programmed or activated remotely, for if you want your lights to be on when you enter your home or when you're not there, for security purposes. The system can even tell when you leave your home and can turn your lights off automatically for you if you choose.

Energy savings

Energy use at home has been reducing rapidly for many years since the introduction of compact fluorescent energy-saving lamps, down on average from around £164 per household in 1990 to around £88 currently per household, a saving of nearly half. Further savings are achievable not by more efficient light sources as the level of reduction is now starting to level out, but rather using controllability. Unfortunately, switching lighting on and off only when required is not done well by individuals, therefore this needs to be done through an automated control process which provides the flexibility of aesthetically pleasing and adequate illumination to meet living needs, with monitoring to dim or remove illumination when not required. 

Improve your health

Smart lighting allows you to decide the intensity of your lighting system so that they're using less energy when your lights are just on passively, only brightening to full intensity when you ask them to or when you actually enter the room they're in. This also applies to the colour of the light, which can change throughout the day to match your circadian rhythm, going from a bluer hue in the morning to a softer orange hue in the evening. This is proven to help regulate your natural sleep cycle, and prevent your body from being fooled into thinking it's daytime in the evening. Your lights can even be integrated with other health-related apps, such as Google Assistant, and slowly get brighter as you wake for a more natural sunrise effect.

Benefits of commercial smart lighting

While people tend to have a reasonable understanding of how to minimise lighting energy use at home, achieving the same understanding of how to minimise lighting energy use at work is more challenging. Employees tend to work in groups where the lighting was prior to any control, switched on and off by the basis of first in, last out. Additionally, legislation also required lighting to be at a level for health and safety as well as having the ability to carry out tasks effectively and efficiently. All of this can result in large energy usage and this does not meet sustainability requirements.

OCTO smart lighting in the office can eliminate all these issues in a stroke, by providing a solution which allows for a situation in which the office itself decides when lights should be on based upon automated control, taking this out of the employees' hands.

Daylight harvesting

Combined with the technology of daylight harvesting, optimising light levels based upon the amount of natural daylight entering the space and how deep that natural daylight moves into the space is important when considering how much artificial lighting will be required to provide an adequate and uniform maintained illuminance across the space. The requirements for artificial lighting closer to the natural daylight will be less than that required deeper into the space where the natural lighting is either reduced or non-existent. Careful consideration of this ever-changing scenario as the natural component of the combined lighting increases and reduces can maximise the energy-saving benefits of the artificial lighting installation.

Staff wellbeing

In a manner to your home lighting system, smart lights can benefit office employees' health and wellbeing too. By setting up lighting systems in advance, you can be sure that your lighting follows recommended operating levels at all times, and you don't have to leave it to the discretion of staff. You can also help manage their circadian rhythms with coloured light too, boosting wellbeing and productivity.

Other benefits of OCTO smart lighting

Usually, a change this revolutionary to your home or office would necessitate expensive changes or building work to achieve, but one of the best things about OCTO smart lights is that the system is very easy to install and commission. It's controlled and hosted on the cloud, so there's no hub or wiring to install, and the majority of the units are simply installed like a normal light bulb or switch.

This means it's also very easy to retrofit into existing buildings, not something that has to be designed into the building, so houses and offices of any age and type can benefit from OCTO lighting systems.

OCTO also integrates well with other apps in sophisticated ways, creating effects that are as impressive as they are useful. For example, integrated with the Dominos app it can change the colour of the lights when your pizza is ready, or integrated with the weather app it can change the colour of the lights depending on the weather outside.

To find out how OCTO lighting systems could help you realise the smart, energy-efficient home or office of your dreams, browse the full OCTO smart lighting range for residential and commercial applications today.

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