Vivint has released a smart light system to add to its already impressive range of smart devices for an all-in-one connected home.
I recently reviewed the Vivint complete connected home solution by having it fitted at home. That system was an alarm with security cameras and sensors. Now the company seems to be moving into new areas of the 'smart home,' maintaining the seamless fashion.
The smart lighting market has been a little disjointed with products that need to be connected to their own app, and also to Google Home (or Apple Home) for them to work. This can be annoying as a variety of smart devices from different providers leads to an over-supply of apps needed to control your home or to make changes. Vivint's approach is that all can be handled by their app and it shares the ability with Google Assistant to react to voices. (If you want HomeKit compatibility, you're out of luck.)
Vivint smart lighting seems a great solution for lighting as it doesn't need any tinkering with your home wiring to make it work. A very simple removal of your lighting faceplate and replacement with Vivint’s nicely designed switch and you're done, doesn't get any easier than that. Vivint has also designed a switch plate that keeps your original switch (which may be used for turning a fan on and off for example) and has one or two gang switches next to it. Again a nice idea.
The lightbox, as I call it, goes over the top of any kind of switch, either a toggle or rocker, so you don't have to worry about the style of switch. The switches work just like your regular light switch, just a bit fancier and modern with added dimming as well.
The connection between your lights and an existing Vivint Hub (which is a prerequisite) is handled by a “Smart Bridge” which comes with the starter bundle ($299 for 8 bulbs, Smart Bridge, and a Switch Box + $5 pm service fee).
The bridge talks over the Zigbee platform which means your own WiFi won’t be crowded with more devices, a nice feature as most low to mid-tier mesh systems have a relatively low limit of wireless devices they can support.
Thankfully there is a wide range of bulbs, such as BR30 Flood Lights, LED recessed, and of course standard “A19” bulbs. Hopefully, more stylish bulbs are in the pipeline for when you need them in exposed light fixtures – more established competitors like Phillips Hue, which also works over Zigbee and is HomeKit friendly, have a much more extensive choice at the moment.
What is encouraging about Vivint's entrance into smart lighting is the rules or actions you can create, especially for reacting to security issues that occur while you are away. For instance, you can set up a rule that says if your camera outside detects someone, put the bedroom light on to make it looks like someone is reacting to the threat. All within the same system. As many will know, cross-brand equivalents are theoretically possible but sometimes require a bit of oversight.
You can also set up random lights to come on during the evening around the home. Other use cases could be you can set up a rule that turns on the hallway light as you disarm the security alarm. Vivant calls this “Away Lighting” which is a fancy way of saying "Pretending you're home if someone is watching your house."
All this is an encouraging extension to what is a high-end security product, though we have to admit it doesn't actually have a camera – until you link it to the security system!