When the the daughter of Joel Spira (deceased founder and former CEO of Lutron Electronics) introduced IVALO (at the time, a commercial lighting line only from Lutron), I was a bit skeptical on how it would do as a new brand within the this lighting and controls powerhouse family to be. The cost was extremely high, designs weren’t exactly the traditional wall sconces and linear suspension fixtures you’d find in that time frame’s office environment, which is probably why it has done so well (a ton of other lighting manufacturers now produce similar lighting fixtures). They were very modern, which for the record, I liked very much, but it also started a trend other manufacturers would later follow. Since then, the IVALO line has branched out into some truly impressive LED downlighting that can be dimmed down to 0.1 percent with the help of Lutron made drivers, and of course, their control system (I’ve specified, sold and have installed my fare share of these products — yes, they are this good).
Lutron has always been leading the pack, per se, in the lighting control category, and now with the IVALO line, coupled with the acquisition of KETRA, lighting solutions could be a new category for them to excel in, as well as expand their already impressive lighting control catalog; this is the future of lighting.
Prior to their acquisition form Lutron, Ketra was doing it’s own impressive things, like providing “natural lighting” from an artificial light source; I know, crazy right?
Let me break that down for you:
The planet’s natural lighting comes from our sun, and our moon (sun’s reflection of off our moon); one obviously brighter than the other. The sun rises in the morning, and when it does, you can see amber skies (approximately 3200K) that continually shift CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) throughout the day, afternoon(approximately 5500K/6500K), and evening(approximately 3200K), as the sun eventually sets. Throughout your day, your body adjusts to the light changing via this kelvin shift, and notifies you when to get up, and to go to bed.
Now, not every day and night are the same, nor are they always good nights full of sleep and/or days full of energy. Sleepless nights cause sleepy and tiresome days — but did you know that lighting can influence how well you sleep, stay alert, your reaction times, mood and/or when you feel like you’re running at 110 percent? Your brain has an internal clock that tell you when to sleep, get up and it can cycle (sleep/wake cycle) often in a 24 hour period; this is your circadian rhythm. The more blue light we subject ourselves to at light, the more or sleeps and days become effected; other studies also suggest far worse medical issues, but that is another story.
Ketra has taken this cycle and created lighting products that can reproduce natural lighting from an artificial source. Products that paired with it’s comprehensive controls, can mimic the sun’s rise and setting, with the same smooth kelvin shift. That being said, they aren’t the first company to create a light fixture or lamp that can shift kelvin, but they are the first to provide a great solution to our world’s blue light problem and a great system to control it with.
Enter Lutron, an already thriving controls/energy management systems provider; from natural light to artificial light, Lutron has solution for you, and a plethora of color options to to please your favorite designer. OK, nobody has enough color options, fabrics, etc. to please every designer or even most designers, but Lutron does offer plenty of options. Lutron acquires Ketra and these two lighting solutions leaders embark on what our futures lighting will be; are they creating the new standard for society? Probably not, but I bet they help shape it.
If you read the press release from Lutron, then you know that Ketra products are only available through select US-based lighting showrooms A/V dealers. Is it weird that a lighting/Lighting control company works with A/V dealers? A little, but a lot of those A/V dealers are also electricians by trade that came to A/V. This too is now normal; even if you don’t like it, that’s the truth of this industry now. Adapt or die.
Lighting is a huge in automation, which encompasses A/V, and more A/V dealers have adopted lighting, or hired someone who can do it for them so they can offer a full bid. If you’re in the AV Industry, and you’re not already providing lighting and control of it, it’s never to late to start. As far as Lutron goes, nice one; I see what you did there. I’ll be looking forward to new innovation, new control systems, lighting solutions and a longer, happier, more alert and healthier life full of better wake/sleep cycles because of it.