Lighting controls are not only an important way to conserve energy, they also help you to get exactly what you want from your lighting exactly when you want it. At the lighting design studio we believe we will see a massive increase in the use of control systems in homes, it’s time to go far beyond the on/off switch. So how exactly do you provide lighting control with your iphone or ipad?
Ever left the house and wondered if you had remembered to switch the kitchen light off? Well it’s possible to check using your mobile phone and that’s only the start of what’s feasible.
Lighting controls enable scene setting which gives much more flexibility to a space. Dimming and controlling different light fittings on different circuits allows the user to select specific colors and lighting intensities – to match décor, achieve a specific mood and create different atmospheres. Different scenes can help accentuate different parts or features of a room, depending on who is present and what you are doing.
For example you could have a scene that’s great for socializing with friends over a coffee which creates a relaxing ambience, while accentuating your art work. Then with the touch of a button your light fittings can all adjust to create an intimate atmosphere for when you want to curl up in front of the fire, or dim right down for watching a movie, or go into party mode for special occasions, you get the idea.
Controlling your light could be as simple as having a few rotary dimmers on the wall, or you could introduce a central smart control system for your home. There are already many competitively priced control systems currently on the market and more exciting models are due out in 2012. If you opt for a control system, with the ever increasing ability of smart phones it’s easy to use these as tools to control your light fittings. iPhone linking normally works on a radio frequency (RF) or Wi-Fi Ethernet link device, and therefore generally requires a central “brain” or computer unit which communicates between your iPhone and the lighting circuits via a RF or a Wi-Fi signal. As there are a number of different control systems on the market; here we list a series of questions worth asking to help determine the best method of ‘Smart Phone’ lighting control.
- Work out an ideal or maximum budget – this will quite quickly determine which direction you are able to head –there are inexpensive options for iPhone control available, which work well.
- How many circuits are you planning on controlling – is it just one room or the whole house? This will determine the size of the system.
- Are you planning on retrofitting or is this a complete new fit out? – this will determine the type of system required.
- What fittings are you controlling and can the light sources be controlled with the control system?
- Are you planning on linking the system to additional AV (Audio Visual) systems? This determines which system can work with other control systems.
- In addition to using your phone you will of course have fixed switches, look at these – which do you actually like and do they suit the rest of your decor?
A lighting control system can be as simple or complex as the individual and pretty much anything is possible with a creative mind. We have tried and tested many of the ones curren