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How Do Smart Bulbs Work?

More than almost any other invention, the electric light made today's 24-hour lifestyle possible. There really isn't much you can do without being able to see, and indoor illumination has made it so that the day doesn't have to end just because the Sun went down.

What are the Three Types of Light Bulbs?

When it comes to illuminating your home, you have three basic choices to consider; incandescent, CFL, and LED. Each option provides its own set of benefits and limitations to the table:

  • Incandescent: These bulbs are the ones that Edison invented, and basically work through resistance heating the filament until it glows. It's a brute-force approach that offers the flexibility of dimmable lighting at the cost of a huge power bill and short life. They measure in Watts, a unit of power consumption.
  • CFL: Compact Fluorescent Lights use electric currents to excite an ionized gas to produce light. They use less energy than conventional bulbs but cannot work in dimmable fixtures and takes time to warm up.
  • LED: LED light bulbs are the next generation of home lighting. These bulbs can last for decades, use the least power of any lighting technology, and can go in a dimmable fixture. Like CFLs, they are rated lumens, which measures light output rather than energy usage.

How Do Smart Bulbs Work?

Smart light bulbs, like the Philips Hue BR30 add a new dimension to home illumination. Smart bulbs differ significantly from other bulbs and help increase the convenience of your fixtures.

  • Convenience: BR30 bulbs, and other similar devices do more than just light your room. They also respond to your smartphone, so you can control each BR30 individually through an app.
  • Connectivity: Every Hue, including the BR30, comes with a wireless transmitter built into the base of the unit. Rather than taking over your existing network, it connects to a device known as a Bridge. The Bridge then hooks into your router and creates its own wireless network for your LED bulbs.

The BR30 in Use

The Philips BR30 is a directional LED bulb works as a downlight in ceiling recesses. In fact, it's so focused that it doesn't even illuminate the lampshade; all the light goes forward. This is great for ceiling use because you can get the benefits of all 630 lumens. Compared to the earlier A-series lights the difference is significant, with the BR30 providing far more usable illumination from recessed mountings than the previous generation lights making it a perfect flood light bulb. The instant-on functionality combined with the remotely dimmable capabilities means that you can use the same bulb for soft ambiance or for brightness when you need to see what you're doing.