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Has the smart lighting trend moved to the outdoors? Turns out, it has.

Smart outdoor lighting works pretty much the same way as smart indoor lighting: with software that connects to the internet that lets you control your lighting automatically, using an app on your phone or tablet, or with a smart home assistant. The big difference between indoor and outdoor smart lighting systems? The outdoor ones are "ruggedized" to withstand rain, snow, intense sunlight, and temperature swings.

Smart outdoor lighting systems for your home and garden can be as basic as a few intelligent bulbs, plugs, and switches – or as advanced as integrating outdoor lighting into an entire smart home ecosystem.

But wait. Before you go out to the home improvement store to purchase random smart fixtures, CNET recommends that you first choose a smart lighting platform. Some work with Amazon, Google Home, or other smart speakers you may already own. Others require a smart-home hub that plugs into your internet router.

Homeowners who are already using smart outdoor lighting systems find them tremendously convenient and tend to like them for the following reasons:

Energy Cost Savings—Fixtures that sense ambient outdoor light levels and adjust accordingly can save energy and extend bulb life while decreasing your monthly utility bills. You can program your outdoor lights to automatically turn off if no activity is detected for a certain amount of time, ensuring that you’ll never forget to turn your lights off.

What's more, smart lighting products can reduce your home’s carbon footprint, by consuming less energy over time.

Safety and Security—Because smart outdoor lights typically react to motion, sunset, and sunrise, such systems can help residents and their guests avoid nighttime accidents at entryways, and on walkways and driveways. The same motion-activated lights that prevent accidents at night also improve home security, since sudden illumination can help deter trespassers and intruders.

Have you ever left the house and realized you forgot to turn your outdoor lights off or your outdoor security lights on? With a smart outdoor lighting system, you can control your lighting using your mobile device, from anywhere. And you can add to your peace of mind by connecting your smart outdoor lighting system to your smart home security system.

Beauty and Enjoyment—Smart outdoor lighting can help you create a more visually appealing nighttime landscape. Using seasonally inspired placement, color, and light combinations, you can add decorative touches to gardens, patios, pools, and driveways.

Program various “scenes” into your smart system, triggering them either manually, by name, or via pre-programmed according to time, weather, or other conditions. Here are a few examples of how smart outdoor lighting can be used in various automated scenes:

  • Dusk/evening scene: As the sun sets, the outdoor porch light turns on and hallway lights come on at 10% brightness as a night light.
  • Waking-up scene: When the sun rises or at a set time in the morning, certain lights come on at specific brightness levels.
  • Party scene: With the touch of a button, set the party mood. Sync your customized lighting colors and modes with music playlists or other sources to create dynamic light shows for outdoor nighttime activities—whether it’s colored lights pulsating to a music beat, floodlights for an evening of BBQ and yard games, or soft lighting for a cozy dinner on the deck.
  • Vacation scene: Lights turn on and off at intervals, giving the appearance that someone is at home.

Convenience - Guests are arriving, it’s dark outside, and you’re at a crucial point in your food preparation and can’t leave the kitchen. With a smart outdoor lighting system, a voice command or tap of a mobile device can illuminate your path for guests, without your having to flip a single switch.

And how nice is it to be able to relax on your couch or in bed and still have full control over all your outdoor lighting?

But how do you know what’s right for your landscape? Here are some questions to help you decide on smart lights and fixtures for your outdoor spaces:

  • How bright do you want or need the lights to be?
  • Can you control the product with your cell phone? And how from how far away?
  • Is the lighting system you’re considering compatible with your other smart-home devices?
  • Does it respond to your voice?
  • Is it a wireless system? Or do you need a trained electrician for installation and setup?
  • How many smart bulbs and fixtures can you afford?

To keep costs low and enjoyment high, you can start by trying an inexpensive smart plug. Pair it with an outdoor outlet on your porch and then plug in your outdoor light fixture. Voila! You can control a smart plug with your voice or a smartphone app, or put it on a schedule so it turns on just before you get home from work.

Manufacturers: As consumers demand more connected products, the global smart lighting market is expected to grow from $16.2 billion in 2020 to $77.10 billion by 2026. Contact us about how Ayla Networks’ IoT platform and Fast Track program can speed your time-to-value through white-label, secure smart bulbs, plugs, switches, and Wi-Fi modules.