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CNET Smart Home
A smart lighting setup for the CNET Smart HomeBuilding the CNET Smart Home: Color-changing bulbs, connected switches and voice activation: We're going all-in on smart lighting for our new living lab.
We've boosted the Wi-Fi, we've picked out a smart hub. Now let there be lights. [MUSIC] Installing smart lights is a common starting point for the connected home and there are a lot of ways to do it. You can automate a lamp using an app enabled smart plug or install hardwired smart switches right into your walls or just swap your lightbulbs out for smartbulbs with wireless radios built in. But in a big house like this one with all sorts of bulbs and switches and dimmers already in place, things can get complicated fast. If you want to come up with a whole-home smart lighting solution, and we do, you're going to need to have a plan, and the best way to come up with one is to figure out what you want your smart lights to do. Here in the CNet smart home, we want smart lights that can do a lot. Voice and motion activated lighting changes, tie-ins with smart security. You name it. For that, we need a system that can do a lot, and that's why we're going with Phillips Hue to start things off. Aside from the color-changing novelty factor, Phillips used a very well-developed lighting platform that plays very well with the third-party products and services we wanted to have [UNKNOWN] including the SmartThings hub that we've already got installed here in the smart home. At 60 bucks each, the color-changing hue bulbs are expensive, sure. But with the hue bridge we can also control cheaper bulbs like these $15 pre-connected LEDs. We'll save some cash and use those here in the family room. But what about a light like this living room chandelier? It's a hard-wired fixture so we can't use a smart plug and with multiple flame-shaped light bulbs, we can't just **** in a Cree or Philips bulb either. For a light like this, we're gonna have to go straight to the switch. Our target is right here, this set of four switches in a single plate. One controls the chandelier, another controls the pair of lights in the window. Number three is our front porch light, and the last switch turns on a fixture in the front yard. It'd be great to automate all of those, and to do it we're gonna replace each switch with something smarter. That smarter option, the [UNKNOWN] light switch with WiFi built right in. It's a good fit with the rest of our setup and their automatons will still work even when the lights are switched off. Wiring four switches in together at once is a lot trickier than wiring just one but it's doable and with some help from our lead technical editor Steve Conaway, we managed to squeeze everything in and get it up and running. For info on how we did it, make sure to check out our full post at CNet. Our last lighting goal is to control everything using spoken commands. It's a growing facet of the smart home on which we're particularly bullish, and there are a lot of big names that can currently get the job done, including Siri and Cortana. For our purposes right now, though, we're gonna start with something else. Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights. Okay. That's right. We're going with the Amazon Echo Smart Speaker and with Alex, the cloud connected artificial intelligence housed inside. That said, we've got big plans for voice control here in the CNet smart home. So, don't be surprised if we start bringing in other platforms to test alongside Check back for updates along those lines in the coming weeks we'll tell you all about it. For now, thanks for watching. We'll see you next time.