Recessed downlights have evolved from simple fixtures to high-tech marvels. LED technology has revolutionized the game, enabling slim profiles, integrated lighting elements, and unparalleled controllability.

Cutting-Edge Recessed Lighting: Integrating LEDs, Apps, and Audio

Chuck Ross
Electrical contractors have been installing recessed downlights for decades – they first came to the commercial market in the 1940s and started lighting up homes soon after. But, while today’s models might look similar to those originals from below the ceiling, they’re completely different products when you open them up. The newest offerings offer a range of customization and controllability options – and some even …

Of course, the biggest shift in recessed products has been the move to LED technology, which has changed lighting of all types in the last 10 years or so. Among the biggest improvements in this regard is the move toward integrating the lighting elements directly into the fixture. Previously, recessed fixtures needed to be deep enough to accommodate a screw-in lamp, so ceiling plenum space became an essential commodity. Now, LEDs are manufactured into the fixture, topped by a lens, so luminaires can simply be clipped into ceiling drywall, requiring only a couple inches of above-the-ceiling clearance, in many issues.

And then there’s the tremendous improvements in controllability, which can give all contractors’ customers the kind of flexibility to create personal lighting scenes that was only available in high-end installations just a few years ago. Beyond simple dimming, light from app-controlled LEDs can easily be shifted between cooler and warmer whites, along with full RGB tunability that can turn any living room or kitchen into a pop-up nightclub when entertaining begins.

To keep that party going, some manufacturers are even fitting Bluetooth speakers into their fixtures’ small form factors. So, now, users can literally be surround by their music from above, using any app or music streaming service, with the ability to wirelessly pair their speaker downlights.
Photo courtesy of Juno Lighting Group
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