How to Light, IoT/Smart Lighting

How to Light: What should I consider when retrofitting a connected lighting solution?

This question has been answered by the technical team at Ansell Lighting.

A recent YouGov report indicates that close to a quarter of Britons now own one or more smart home devices (excluding smart meters), while one in 10 now have two or more. This clearly highlights the growth in the industry. Smart lighting solutions are becoming an ever-increasing part of today’s home as consumers are made aware of the many benefits of controlling luminaires from their smart devices and tailoring lighting to their personal requirements.

Elsewhere we have outlined the benefits of a connected lighting solution (see Why retrofit your home into a smart home?). If you are now looking to retrofit existing lighting to a connected lighting solution, here are some points you may want to consider.     

Replacing existing lamps

Table lamps and pendants can be the quickest and easiest way to retrofit your lighting into a smart solution. Connected technology has now been embedded into LED lamps, offering a simple, switch-out solution. Edison screw and bayonet lamp caps are available, with converters available for non-standard bases. Simply switching to these intelligent lamps offers an instant connected solution.

And this technology is not exclusively for indoor spaces. These smart lamps can be installed in a number of exterior fixtures, including bollards and wall lights with an IP44 rating or higher.

Retrofitting existing luminaires

What about the other lighting in your home? If you’re looking to retrofit existing downlights in a domestic environment such as a kitchen, there are some fantastic options available. Indoor and outdoor connected lighting controllers can be wired in to existing non-smart fixtures, transforming them into a fully functional part of your connected lighting solution, enabling full control from a smart device. The indoor and outdoor controllers can be connected to singular or multiple luminaires, enabling control of one fixture, or your entire kitchen lighting simultaneously.

Additionally, consumers can split the luminaires in large rooms into separate groups of control. By wiring separate groups of luminaires in one room to separate indoor controllers, consumers can switch off lighting above television screens to watch a film while leaving dimmed luminaires on at the back of the room, creating a relaxing, ambient aesthetic for occasions such as movie nights.

Switches and dimmers

Another important element to consider when retrofitting your home’s lighting to a connected lighting solution is how you intend to control it.

Configuring lighting scenes based upon your own requirements is an easy task with the use of a smartphone or tablet, but what if you want to use a more traditional method of control, while still having the ability to control a connected lighting system?

Smart switches and dimmers are now available with most smart lighting solutions, enabling consumers to assign specific actions or scenes to switches, such as reducing luminaires to 50 per cent, triggering a lighting animation or simply switching off the lights within certain rooms. Smart switches can be used alongside, or in replacement of, traditional lighting switches, so it’s important to consider the application of the connected system. Communal workspaces with multiple users, for example, may benefit from both smart and traditional lighting switches.


In addition to the smart switches available with a variety of connected lighting systems, there’s also a range of indoor and outdoor sensors available. Smart sensors enable consumers to further optimise a connected lighting ecosystem to their personal requirements. Sensors can be easily assigned to particular groups of luminaires with the use of a smartphone or tablet.

The easily commissioned sensors can assist in energy saving by only illuminating an area when they detect motion. The sensors can also be used to trigger lighting scenes that have been configured via the app – for example, emitting a low level of illumination when visiting the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Subtle indoor and IP65 outdoor sensors are available with a variety of connected lighting ecosystems, adding to the way in which a consumer can optimise the interior and exterior environments of a connected lighting ecosystem.

So, whether you are retrofitting existing lighting or installing brand-new luminaires, there’s a connected solution that is right for you.

To see other lighting questions answered by experts, click here.