It’s Time to Get Brilliant!
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I’ve been trying to be brilliant all my life. Unfortunately, I’ve been failing—until now. With Brilliant, the latest in smart home/office control, it’s easy to be brilliant, and make your way into the Internet of Things (IoT) to boot! This all-in-one smart controller takes the place of an existing light switch, giving you the ability to control lights, music, thermostats, locks, and more. Not to mention that Brilliant has Amazon Alexa built in, which provides an easy way to get the smart speaker in every room, giving you voice control over all your devices.
For years, integrators had to install expensive and complicated automation control systems from manufacturers such as Creston or Control4 to integrate different devices. With Brilliant, the frustration and cost have been removed, making it suitable for projects with limited budgets all the way to those with sky’s-the-limit funding. And installation does not require any additional hubs, wiring, batteries, or programming.
The first step is the installation of the Brilliant controller. You will need to know how many light switches you are replacing in a single gang box to order the proper SKU. Brilliant has versions for one-, two-, three-, or four-switch gang boxes. Once you have the appropriate version, remove the old light switches and install the Brilliant backplate. This process is extremely easy, especially if you have ever swapped an outlet or switch before. However, be sure to check your local electrical codes to see if you can legally complete the installation yourself, or if you need to bring in a licensed electrician to handle this part.
Once the backplate is installed and you have checked the manual light switch buttons to ensure the lights are working as usual, you can now connect the Brilliant faceplate. Next, download and open the Brilliant mobile app and let the magic happen.
As with any IoT device, the first step is getting it connected to the Wi-Fi. Once on the Wi-Fi, you can name your switch and link it to a Brilliant account.
Integrations, Integrations, and More Integrations
Brilliant’s real magic begins after setup. Currently, the platform offers more than a dozen integrations, with many more on the horizon, such as Google Assistant. Some big examples available now are Ring doorbells, Sonos smart speakers, Philips Hue smart bulbs, SmartThings devices, and Nest thermostats.
The team at Brilliant is looking to add integrations that matter most and provides a survey for its integrator customers to submit requests. I’ve requested Insteon switches and Logitech Harmony remote controls, as I believe these two integrations alone will help to make Brilliant even more valuable.
What makes Brilliant’s integrations so powerful is how well thought out they are, rather than just being integrated for the sake of being integrated. Let’s take the Ring video doorbell. It not only notifies you that someone is at the door, it plays live video immediately on the screen, and you can communicate with it through the Brilliant switch. In a residential environment, this allows homeowners to answer the door from almost anywhere in their house without needing their phone. In a commercial environment, it enables us to install Brilliant switches at a reception desk and utilize Ring devices to let the receptionist communicate with guests who may be outside the building.
The Sonos integration is one of the best that I have seen on any product; it makes sense, since the team that started Brilliant came from Sonos. The Sonos integration enables you to access playlists, play/pause music in any Sonos zone throughout the home or office, or do just about anything else that you can do from the Sonos controller. This integration makes it extremely useful for both residential and commercial installations for whole office audio control.
The Brilliant controllers are a great addition for any residential or commercial installation. For a commercial client with a small office, for example, the following can be used to make a true smart office:
- Brilliant switch: controller for integrations and “scenes” (For instance, you can set a “Watch Movie” scene that automatically lowers all the lights and closes the shades.)
- WeMo dimmers: dimmer switches for smart lighting throughout the office
- Ring: video doorbell for entry monitoring
- Yale lock: remote entry opening
- Sonos: whole office audio
- Nest thermostat: climate control throughout the office
Using a single or multiple Brilliant switches with the above installation example, you can completely control your office both from the switch and with your voice. Let’s not forget that the Brilliant switches have Alexa built in, making for a convenient way to implement it throughout the office.
These same concepts can be used at residential installations, so homeowners no longer have to fumble for their phones to perform simple tasks like turning on a light.
The biggest downside to the introduction of smart homes and offices has been the number of apps that were needed to control the different devices. The team at Brilliant has addressed this complexity. Everything you can do from the Brilliant switch, you can also do from the Brilliant app on your mobile device. Brilliant has truly found a way to provide that simplified access to your home/office systems that we have been looking for.
Inner Home/Office Video Chat
There are two additional features I want to mention. One is Brilliant’s built-in camera, which allows for switch-to-switch video chatting within the same home or office. No longer does mom need to yell up the stairs to get the kids down for dinner; she simply asks Brilliant to video chat the playroom. For years, installers have been looking for innovative ways to handle room-to-room communication. Brilliant found another great feature to add to its laundry list.
Second is the ability to turn Brilliant into a digital photo frame with photos from your phone. In the office, you could display the employee of the month; at home, your little soccer star.
No Job Too Big or Too Small
With Brilliant, there is no job too big or too small. I have used Brilliant from single-switch installations to homes that needed 40 or more switches. I’ve finally achieved my goal of being brilliant!
MIKE BLOOMFIELD is president geek of Tekie Geek, a managed services, cloud, and IT security provider in Staten Island, N.Y.
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