Live brighter this holiday season by decorating your home in ways you might not have thought possible! With the Internet of Things (IoT) technology offering remote control at the swipe of your smart device, you can create amazing Christmas lighting effects and more without spending too much money on bulbs or adding to your electric bill.
Thankfully, you don’t need an advanced degree in electrical engineering or computer science to do so , as it’s as easy as plug-&-play. This range of available smart and connected home devices will help you with your holiday lighting now, and your overall home energy usage into the New Year.
Light Magic Made Easy
GE pushes traditional holiday lighting into the 21st Century with its iTwinkle WiFi-controlled light sets and its iTwinkle bluetooth-controlled prelit trees. Both offer remote control for time scheduling and color variations via your smart device – just swipe your finger to change colors. Plus there’s some other startling surprises such as synchronizing the lights to pre-loaded or downloaded music and synchronizing lights to flash to your voice. You could also playback your own personal message in a child’s voice. Available almost anywhere.
Lumenplay is a brand of smart RGB LED light strings that work with their own app. Not just for Christmas, they let you let you set up color schemes, adjust moods, add motion, and even synchronize color changes and motion to music — all on your smart device via its bluetooth connection. Available in three popular bulb sizes, they also offer a 24-volt “color splasher” floodlight to paint your whole home in lights.
Bliss Lights shine a thousand points of light onto large areas using a projector equipped with a laser and controlled optics. Put one of these projectors in your yard, point it at your home, and WOW – your home and yard looks like it’s covered in Christmas lights. Each projector runs on 24 volts and can be set up in under five minutes. Add dramatic effects for events around your home year-round.
AppLights makes a complete line of Christmas lighting effects ranging from spotlights and kaleidoscope effects to animated candy canes, icicles, and standard-sized (C9) christmas lights. Carried exclusively at Home Depot, up to 8 sets of lights can be connected and controlled via your smart device using bluetooth.
Beyond the Beginner
If you’re not quite ready to venture into animation and sequencing for your Christmas lighting, but you want to try something that’s a little beyond the boxed starter kit, we can help. How about layering your lighting strings so one layer fades on while another fades out in a rotating schedule?
You can make this work seamlessly without expensive equipment by attaching your lights to smart plugs or smart outlets. You can use your smart device to set the outlet’s schedule to turn on and off on a preset schedule. Smart plugs include Samsung Smart Things’ GE Pluggable Light Dimmer Outlet, Newbeem, and Leviton’s DZPD3. You can use these on your Christmas tree lights or other decorative lights inside your home.
Manufacturers of smart plugs or smart outlets stipulate these are for indoor use only. However, it is conceiveable to connect these to an outdoor receptacle or outlet that is mounted inside a covered receptacle box (such as this example ) with a weather-tight seal and then plug in outside light strings to safely create a subtle, lower-tech smart display.
If you use smart plugs or outlets, be sure to keep these crucial points in mind:
- Don’t use them for displays that change rapidly or flash. for that, it’s best to go with a multi-channel light controller.
- Don’t exceed the outlet manufacturer’s recommended wattage.
- Stay within 80% of your electrical breaker’s maximum amperage.
- Only use dimmable LEDS for dimming or flashing. Regular LED bulbs are not designed for power fluctuations and will quickly fail.
Do you have any ideas about using smart and connected home devices for a wondrous display of holiday lighting? Please share with us in the comments!