How often after you hit the bed after a tiring day do you remember that you’ve forgotten to turn a light or television off downstairs? When this happens, you probably roll over and go back to sleep with some guilt. You need something in hand to turn everything off right from the warm confines of your bed.
Consider another scenario
Your date is coming over to spend a romantic evening with you. You would like to set the lights in the kitchen, the dining room, the living room (and perhaps elsewhere) to be bright enough or dim enough for the different activities that you have planned – cooking in the kitchen, dinner in the dining room, a movie on the TV and perhaps a bit of dancing. All of this requires a bit of lighting control. You wouldn’t want to run about changing all the lights for just the right mood. You need something that you can use to easily set and change all the lights in the house to specific levels at the right times – not just turn them all on and all off.
You could have security concerns
Finally, what happens when you need to take a vacation with your family and still make the house look occupied? While you could turn a couple of lights on before you leave, a clever burglar would quickly realize that the lights were just meant to fool him. It would be a good idea to have lights that could turn on and off around the house at random – just to make it look like there was someone at home moving from one room to another.
The answer is remote control
For the first scenario, a simple all-on/all-off remote control (together with power outlets and switches that are able to receive signals from the remote) is all you need.
At one time, there was nothing simple about lighting that was remote-controlled. You needed to use expensive technology called X-10 that transmitted your commands over your home wiring. You couldn’t always depend on having your commands executed faithfully, either. Even 15 years ago, controlling your lighting through wireless remote (or a clap) was so expensive that the movies would show millionaires using them.
Recent advances have made wireless remote technology so inexpensive that you can go to online stores like Elite Fixtures today and buy a wireless set for less than $50. There are a number of remote control technologies to investigate before you buy, though – Z-Wave technology, the Universal Powerline Bus method and the Insteon technology are a few that are worth considering.
This is only the beginning
The other scenarios – the romantic date and the one with the vacation – require somewhat more complex lighting control technologies. To the user, though, these technologies are far simpler (and more entertaining) to use than the ones that use regular remote controls. They require use of a smartphone app.
Using smartphone apps
The newest remote control lighting systems allow you to control every electrical device in your house at the touch of a virtual smartphone button. These systems don’t just work through regular remote control signals. They also come with Wi-Fi adapters built into each switch and power outlet. Control comes through a smartphone app that allows complete automation. You get to design home lighting plans, automate when everything changes and dim and brighten to plan. It can feel powerfully empowering to use one of these systems.