With all the talk about smart technology and connected homes, you may be wondering why you should take notice. After all, it is not that difficult or inconvenient to turn your lights on and off.According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), smart technology is not just about convenience. It is not even just about lighting. It is also about energy efficiency and safety. Efficiency Smart technology allows you to connect your home’s electronic devices to one device, such as a phone, tablet or computer. Having a connected home means you have the ability to adjust your thermostat, open and close window shades, and activate your security system remotely, or program those devices to operate automatically at pre-set times. Safety Efficiency is important, but safety is paramount. With the ability to connect to your home’s devices from anywhere in the world comes the peace of mind of not wondering if your security system is activated and knowing your outside and inside lights will be on before you arrive home after dark. Convenience Home automation apps make it a snap to change your room into the perfect setting for different activities. For example, for movie night, a system like Lutron’s Caseta Wireless can be pre-programmed to adjust all the lights in your family room to set the scene for a great movie-watching experience.If installing and operating smart technology equipment sounds complicated and expensive, it’s not. According to the ALA, there are some simple and surprisingly inexpensive options available on today’s market.A number of ALA-member manufacturers, including Legrand, Lutron Electronics, Philips and Acuity Brands Lighting offer reasonably priced, easy-to-install automation products designed to make your home more comfortable, convenient and safe. In many cases, it just takes simple retrofitting of an existing dimmer switch.Erik Anderson, national sales manager for Lutron Electronics, explains that the Caseta Wireless is very retrofittable into existing homes. “All you have to do is take your existing dimmer or switch out of the wall and replace it with a Caseta dimmer or switch, add a smart bridge and you have the ability to control it from an app, or from voice control with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri,” says Anderson.For added ease, Lutron’s Caseta Wireless system can be integrated with Apple, Amazon or Google platforms for use inside your home. And when you are outside, an app or geofencing allows you to adjust your inside and/or outside lights, even before you arrive home. That will make your home welcoming to you and your guests.To learn more about making your home smarter, stop by your local ALA-member lighting showroom to see the latest technology for home environment automation. Go online to DesignVideos.Lighting to view a video from Lutron as well as lighting-trends videos from other ALA-member lighting manufacturers.