Smarter automated lighting can be achieved a few different ways, but the end result could all be similar. In that, lights can respond in hue, lumens and brightness based on time of the day, events such as motion, open/closed door, temperature, music, waking up, mood, etc.
Automated lighting can be implemented with one or more of the following, connected z-wave/zigbee switches, wifi/z-wave/zigbee smart plugs, wifi/zwave/zigbee bubls, or bulbs integrated via a bulb controlling hub.
In my implementations I use various of each, as each version has different implementation pros/cons. All applications can be integrated with Google Home via Smartthings.
The average price for these bulbs is around $30 for a single color dimmable A19 bulb; or $40 for a RGB dimmable A19 bulb. Since the price for these bulbs are pretty high, I would use them in a 1 switch to bulb applications; such as a bedroom light, or overhead office light.
This is because the price for a z-wave switch is about $35, and installation of these bulbs are much simpler than a switch. The cons with this approach, is that it can be expensive to set up smart bulbs in a light cluster, such as kitchen lights. And although these bulbs promise a very long lifespan, if they were to be replaced, it increases the cost of the application.
Light switches are great for controlling light clusters, where you would want all the bulbs in the cluster to respond in unity; such as kitchen lights, or bathroom mirror lights. There’s also 3 way z-wave switches that can be used to replace an existing 3 way switch setup; however this can be a little complex, as you’d have to know how your 3 way switch is wired, and re-design the wiring to work with your smart 3 way switch.
The cons here, is that this approach is more complex to install, as you’d have to remove your existing switch, and replace with these.
Smart plugs, are by far the simplest to install and use. You generally plug them into your outlet, then plug your device into them. The device that you plug in should be ones that are controlled by a manual on/off switch, and these can include lamps, heaters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, etc.
The smart plugs also come in 2 versions, a regular on/off smart plug, and a dimmable smart plug; so you can turn your plain old lamp, with a dimmable bulb into a dimmable lamp. Smart plugs are generally a bit pricier than in-wall smart outlets, and can run at about $40 per plug. If you don’t have a Smart hub yet, then there are wifi based models, that can work directly with an app on your smart phone, and can also be programmable.
Smart outlets can be used in very similar applications to that of Smart plugs. The differences being that they’re installed flat into the wall, and don’t protrude like the wall plugs, and they’re mostly z-wave, or zigbee and needs a smart hub to be programmed. They’re also generally cheaper, but needs to be installed.
Lighting hubs are smart hubs specifically designed to control bulbs. These include Philips Hue Bridge, and Osram Wireless Gateway. These hubs are useful if you would like to have your lights respond to music, moves, where each bulb or cluster changes hue, temperature, and brightness.