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Learn All About Smart Lighting

While largely misunderstood, home automation is a wise choice. Here’s why.

Many homeowners are scared of technology. While there’s no question that technology can go wrong, especially when it is not properly planned and implemented, it can also bring huge enjoyment and enhance your lifestyle, decor, home value, security and convenience! 

While home automation or “smart homes” is a big business, it’s also a largely misunderstood area of consumer electronics. Why do you think companies like Google, Microsoft, Nest and so many more are going after it with billions of dollars? Is it right for you? If you’re interested in smart homes, it probably is. 

I get asked two questions all the time: do I have to rewire my house to automate my lights and do I need to take a course on how to turn my lights on after I do this? For the former, the answer is absolutely not. The latter? If it’s done right, figuring it out is super easy. Let’s explore smart lighting a little further. 

In my house, I have two children and they love to leave lights on. Every night when they’re coming downstairs for dinner, the bedroom lights and upper hall lights are always left on (sigh). That is why a popular scene in my lighting automation systems is “Upstairs Off,” which turns off the upper floor with the press of a button...so sweet. Another scenario, it is five minutes before our dinner guests are arriving and my wife and I are scrambling to finish setting the dining table. I simply need to walk over to our switches in the kitchen, press the “Entertain” button and presto, the entire main floor—including powder room—is lit up exactly how we want for our artworks, furniture and flooring to look perfect! 

The list of features is extensive—many systems have vacation mode, which makes your home look like you are home when you are away, and timers that are programmable relative to daily sunset and sunrise times for year-round landscape or seasonal holiday lighting. My personal favourite is integration options to tie lighting functions into your TV remote control. Once I sit down with my popcorn, I don’t want to get back up to dim the lights, tripping over the dog on my way back to the couch. 

There are many effective and popular systems currently available. A few that I like are Lutron’s Radio RA, Control 4 and my personal favourite these days is Crestron’s Pyng for its amazing user experience and flexibility. Each of these systems offers homeowners the ability to retrofit and control lights from wall switches/keypads or via iPhones while at home or on the road.