Intelligent lighting has become public property. The most popular brand in this connection is Philips Hue, but IKEA has also signed up with its WIRELESS series, which includes many different types of affordable smart bulbs.
Philips Hue, IKEA WIRELESS and most other intelligent lighting systems have in common that a central unit, normally called a hub or bridge, so to speak leads and distributes the work between the smart bulbs. The hub is connected to the router, and is thus the bridge to the wireless network, while the communication between the hub and the individual bulbs takes place via ZigBee.
When the laptop, mobile phone and / or smart TV is connected wirelessly to your home network, it is done via the open communication standard 802.11, also known as Wifi. This standard is like a common language all your devices understand. And it’s because the devices communicate via 802.11 that they can talk to each other – and with the rest of the world – via the internet.
Similarly, ZigBee is an open communication standard specifically designed for Smart Home products. Typically, low-power wireless devices – such as LED bulbs, sensors and connectors – are connected via ZigBee.
ZigBee is supported by most Smart Home products, and therefore allows the integration of devices from many different manufacturers.
But Kasa Smart Light Bulb from the Chinese manufacturer of network technology, TP-Link, you can connect directly to your wireless home network via Wifi, without the use of a special hub, which makes the setup of each bulb as easy as scratching your neck.
Just download the Kasa app to your mobile, turn on the light bulb, and pair the light bulb with the network. Voila, then you’re up and running.
The phone has control over everything
Kasa’s app is clear and user-friendly. Depending on the product type (here we have tested a Multicolour version of Kasa Smart Light Bulb, but we also tried a so-called dimmable version which is cheaper, but which does not support more colors or shades) you can set the bulbs (the app apparently supports a unlimited number of bulbs) brightness, as well as hue and temperature. There are also many options for setting different events (turn the light on or off, turn the brightness down or up, etc.). You can also create various “smart actions”, so the light, for example, turns on if an associated sensor detects movement in a specific room, etc.
A small extra detail about the app is that it monitors each individual bulb’s energy consumption in kWh. At the same time, it compares with how much energy a similar ordinary 60 W bulb would have used at the same time.
Ready for voice control
Kasa Smart Light Bulb has a good brightness of 800 lumens, and you can expect a lifespan of between 15,000 and 25,000 hours, depending on the usage pattern.
The bulbs can be voice controlled via both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. On the other hand, Apple HomeKit is not supported, which is a dash in the bill, as Kasa products can thus not be controlled via Apple’s Home app or via Siri. In any case, it requires a difficult detour via IFTTT, which is, however, supported.
But if you are not married to a number of Apple products, Kasa Smart Light Bulb can definitely be recommended as a good alternative to, for example, Philips Hue. They require no hub, are quick to install and easy to operate. At the same time, the support of both Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT means that the smart bulbs can be easily integrated into existing smart home setups, and are easily controlled by voice.