technology profile - lighting
Lutron | Intelligent Lighting
An interview with Zachary Schroeck, Director, Product Management.
By Douglas Weinstein
Lutron has won the world over as one of the premier lighting and shading companies in the luxury residential space. We recently sat down with Zachary Schroeck, Director, Product Management for Lutron, to talk about the newly updated RadioRA3 platform and the luxury user experience Lutron and Kaleidescape are providing for homeowners.
Doug: Zach, talk to us about your role at Lutron.
Zach: I’m in our residential luxury business, and I’m responsible for the products that help run that business. So if you’re familiar with Homeworks, that’s the system, the brains behind the luxury Lutron experience. And everything that goes along with that, including the backroom hardware and full array of luxury keypads. Then we bring it all together with our Intelligent Light Portfolio, including Ketra and our automated shading products. So that whole bundle is what encompasses our luxury offerings.
“One of the keys to success, of course, is to get us in on a project as early as possible. The earlier the better so the customer can really think through the customized experience. ”Zachary Schroeck, Director, Product Management
Doug: What were the changes from RadioRA2 to the newly released RadioRA3 platform?
Zach: One of the big changes is the introduction of the Sunnata Touch Dimmer into the product line. It’s a really clean looking dimmer design that has a light bar that goes along the edge that you can touch and slide to control your dimming. You can also get three or four button keypads in that Sunnata aesthetic.
We also combined the main repeater and connected bridge (the brain) into one chassis and made the programming side easier for the installer. And we’ve made it easier for system programming when you combine multiple products. This expedites the process of getting the integration going if you combine Lutron and Kaleidescape for example, in a home cinema room.
Doug: What are you seeing in the marketplace as far as demand for intelligent lighting and automated shading?
Zach: Business is really good and there is a lot of demand for these intelligent products. We’re seeing that for a luxury homeowner, these products aren’t just desired, but are a must-have. An expectation, if you will. At the luxury level, word of mouth and design-build stakeholders like lighting designers and architects continue to educate the consumer.
People are spending more time in their homes, and as real estate prices continue to escalate, home automation and lighting products fit into more budgets, and of course, the ROI is dramatic. It’s all about creating the most personal experiences with lighting, shading and controls for our luxury clients.
Doug: Speaking of dramatic, combining Lutron with the ultimate movie player from Kaleidescape really sets the stage for an incredible movie experience. Talk about how your two systems complement each other.
Zach: I think Lutron is known within the industry for playing well with other systems. As important as shades and lights are, there is the whole A/V experience and security integration that depends on lighting and shading. We need to know when the front gate opens because we’re controlling the landscape lighting. We need to have seamless integration with other systems providers in the luxury space.
Embedded within the Kaleidescape operating system are cues for lighting and shades – so when you start your movie experience the Kaleidescape player talks directly to the Lutron controller and the shades can come down and then the lights can begin to dim before the movie player goes directly to the first scene in the movie. It really brings the ultimate movie experience to your home.
And with our newest LEAP protocol (again, how we make it easy to integrate and talk to other products), the systems integrator doesn’t have to waste time getting our products to talk and work with one other, they can spend their time fine-tuning the user experience.
There is no lag in the performance, and as soon as the credits start to roll the lights slowly come on without any flicker or shimmering. This is what provides the true cinematic experience – it’s almost like you have your own private projectionist behind the curtains [laughs]. I kind of think of it like I do lossless music, there is no loss in the user experience and this is what defines the luxury market.
One of the keys to success, of course, is to get us in on a project as early as possible. The earlier the better so the customer can really think through the customized experience. How many lights, where do you want them, what types of shading, what materials, what types of keypads, etc. If you start early enough you have limitless options. And it all adds up to creating magical experiences like the thrill of an action movie that you can share with friends and family.
More info: lutron.com