Next time you play your favorite playlist at home, you may want to enhance the experience by using lights that harmoniously complement your music. The next obvious question will be how to carry this out exactly. Surprisingly, flashing lights to music do not require any advanced technical knowledge, as you might think.
You can sync lights to music with your Alexa home system. Here are the four steps you need to take to make this work:
- Get the right lighting system
- Configure the lighting system.
- Install and set up your mobile application.
- Test the systems.
You don’t need to be tech-savvy to sync your Alexa’s flashing lights and music, but you will need your Alexa home audio system and your mobile device for the setup. In this article, I will guide you, step by step, on how to get this done with ease.
1. Get the Right Lighting System
The lighting system you want is enabled with the technology to sync with music through Alexa. This lighting bulb must have some features.
For one, the lighting system of choice must be a “smart lighting” system. The definition of “smart lighting” can be vague; however, they typically should have some basic next-gen features. One such next-gen tech feature is that they come with sensors, which enable them to interact with their environment.
For the sensors on your smart lighting systems to be good enough, they must be able to “read” audio so that they can carry out the voice commands you issue. They should also be able to detect movements.
Then, your smart lighting system must have a stable connection to other devices such as your smartphone. For this to happen, such a system must come with WiFi.
The benefits of using smart lights are ample, as they afford you a combination of safety, convenience, and much more. You can control the lights with just a voice command. Many smart lighting systems are “intelligent” in that they can sense their surroundings and adjust accordingly.
For instance, it is often common to find smart lighting systems that turn on “vacation-mode” when they don’t sense any movement in the house for a few days. People seeing the lighting from outside will know that you are not home.
Others change colors when they sense things are out of place, such as when potential crimes are about to be committed in the home.
Now, the criteria for smart lightning narrow down our search for the right light bulb. However, there’s more. Since you want your lighting to change frequently, then what you need is a multi-color bulb.
In essence, a bulb that can provide multiple colors of illumination. More importantly, it must be able to change its colors automatically without you doing so manually.
There are several “platforms” upon which specific lighting systems can operate regarding audio commands for your smart lighting system.
Popular ones include Alexa from Amazon, Siri by Apple (you remember Siri on the iPhone?), and Assistant from Google (also present on most Android phones). There are many others.
Your smart lights’ design may be compatible with any of these, but since we are talking about Alexa here, you want your smart light of choice to work with Alexa as a platform. Note that there are now a few smart lighting systems that can work with all three and even more.
Finally, and most importantly, your smart light must sync its colors, intensity, and ambiance to fit your music.
The above criteria leave us with a few options for lighting systems. Some good candidates from which you can choose your lighting system include the following items, all of which can be found on Amazon.com:
- Lutron Caseta: The Lutron Caseta is highly minimalistic and, as such, you don’t need complex hardware.
- Philip Hue Lights: Has advanced tech features such as scheduling, ability to set lighting themes, mood settings, weather-based lighting colors, and more.
- Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor: The Sengled Smart LED is extremely affordable. If you are looking for a very cheap bulb with advanced specs, this should be on your radar.
- Govee LED Light Strips: The Govee light is highly durable; customers attest to using a single set of bulbs for up to 2 years.
- Lifx LED bulbs: Another minimalist smart light, it tends to work well with other smart home systems.
2. Configure the Lighting System
The next step is to set up the lighting system so you can start enjoying its features. There is a general approach to doing this:
- Install the smart bulb in your light fixture. This is as simple as replacing a faulty bulb. First, you switch off the light fixture so as to prevent any shocks.
- Then, carefully remove the old, non-smart bulb. The next step is to replace this with the smart bulb. You can then switch on the light fixture.
- Usually, a hub comes with a smart light package. Connect this hub to your home router using the provided ethernet cable. Once the hub comes on, the smart bulb should immediately recognize it.
However, I highly recommend that you go with the manufacturer guidelines as found in the package when you bought the lighting system. This is because specific approaches may slightly differ.
This should not cost much. A few systems may require wiring, for which you may need to get an expert to do. In all, ensure the system is connected to your Alexa.
3. Install and Set Up Your Mobile Application
The “central control unit” for your smart lighting system is a mobile application. You can do many things from the app, such as remote control, where you can switch on and off the lights, or make it do many other things even when you are far away from home.
There are several general-purpose smart lighting mobile apps, and some of them are very good. These include:
Many smart light manufacturers now have their in-house applications, such as Philip Hue, Lutron Caseta, and more. I think it is better to go with the manufacturer’s apps whenever possible.
Download the apps and launch them. Follow the prompts shown on your screen and get it set up. You can set up an “entertainment area” in the app where you want the smart light changing feature to take effect.
4. Test the Systems
You can then check to see if things work out. You can simply say, “Alexa, play me Shape of You by Ed Sheeran,” and you can watch your smart lights change colors to fit the “Shape of You” mood. If your lights don’t start working, you may have to conduct a troubleshooting session to find out what went wrong.
First, check if there may be any problems with the light fixture. You can try this check with a “normal” bulb. Then, check the hub if it syncs well with the router.
If neither steps work, you should consult the customer service lines of your smart light maker. They are usually responsive via email and phone.
There is so much more your innovative lighting systems working with Alexa can do. You can try them out with music or even movies.
Having lights that can complement your music can significantly enhance any experience. However, you might need to set the movie feature up in the mobile app that comes with the smart light system, if there is one.