Lighting automation and control technologies offer homeowners an exciting new way to combine fixture-level control with whole-home programmability to not only enhance everyday experiences, but also provide a better standard of living. Through continued research and advances in technology, new categories of integration and automation are becoming available to average homeowners; no longer is smart lighting reserved for luxury residences.
Customized lighting solutions for clients now extend beyond lighting switches and dimming controls, presenting a major opportunity and new market for integrators. However, this exciting opportunity also creates some challenges for integrators. Here is my advice for how to best navigate them.
In the past, homeowners have had a tendency to overlook lighting when it comes to home and interior design. On/off light switches are one of the most familiar and longest-lived home technologies, having kept the same basic design and functionality for almost 130 years. But in the last few years especially, lighting and lighting control have come a long way with the availability of voice control, scheduled automation, trigger-based illumination, tuneable colored LED bulbs and fixtures, and direct coordination with security systems.
Many homeowners are wary of overly complicated and bulky lighting technology that might not have the polished appearance of other technology in the home. For example, a customer might be hesitant to put six on/off light switches in a kitchen or open plan living space until they learn how it can be controlled through a simple multi-button keypad featuring custom-engraved buttons. Not only is the keypad more attractive, but each button can provide simple on/off and dimming control of individual lights as well as one-touch control of multiple lights preconfigured to the customer’s preferred light levels. In addition to brightness control, today’s integrators can offer a wide range of advanced capabilities that elevate everyday experiences at home for clients and their families, adding new levels of vibrancy and enjoyment.
In showrooms, pre-programmed lighting scenes are still one of the easiest and most impactful demonstrations. Homeowners are impressed by the synchronized ramping and the perfected presets and can easily imagine how lighting scenes would enhance their everyday needs and tasks, from dining and cleaning, to relaxing and entertaining, each with specific lighting levels, colors and use of fixtures.
Improving Design and Aesthetics
In response to ever-changing design standards and homeowner expectations, integrators are keeping up and offering customers even more options, colors and styles to meet the requests of a wider range of interior designers, architects and clients.
Beyond lighting controls, light fixtures have also evolved from lamps and ceiling fixtures to LED strip lights that can be shaped artistically, providing virtually unlimited placement and application opportunities, as well as a whole new dimension of color control and integration.
Additionally, customers who work and entertain from home appreciate thoughtful changes in the intensity and color temperature of their lighting. Color-tunable lighting illuminates spaces more brilliantly and in cooler white tones during the day and changes to a more subdued amber environment in the evening to provide a more relaxed and tranquil ambience. With intelligent scheduling and automation, lighting can automatically warm and cool throughout the day to align with sunrise and sunset, providing enhanced comfort by matching indoor lighting to the natural lighting outside.
Current building trends and consumer tastes are moving toward increased use of better quality, ultra-efficient, whole-home LED lighting in more and more spaces. Simultaneously, the ease of use and reliability of lighting solutions, including full control through mobile device apps, will inevitably bring permanent changes, including higher consumer expectations of how home lighting is used and controlled to create specific scenes, moods and environments.
Technology integrators are the best and most trustworthy resource for homeowners, designers and architects on how lighting technology can be best layered, integrated and controlled in the home. Looking ahead, we anticipate further innovation in lighting hardware and control software that can only enhance this position of expertise in the long-term. Working together, we can create lighting solutions that build a deeper and more rewarding emotional connection for clients with their home environment.