Lutron Electronics Inc. is a privately-held, technology-centered and people-driven company, the set up of which dates back to 1950s when the story about control began in Joel Spira’s makeshift lab in New York City with only two products. The company now provides over 15,000 products to its global customers. Over the years, the business continued to grow dramatically, both domestically and internationally.
Lutron light control products range from individual dimmers to total light management systems that control entire building complexes. Lutron, today, is headquartered in Coopersburg, PA, about 50 miles north of Philadelphia. Lutron sales and service offices are located worldwide, with offices in London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing.
To explore how has the company been catering to its Indian customers’ requirement and how has the control requirements changed with the advent of LEDs; we, at LED World, came in contact with Ripu Daman Sharma, Country Manager – Sales, Lutron Electronics, India Subcontinent. A seasoned professional with a career spanning over 17 years, Sharma has been given the responsibility of developing business and managing the sales strategy for professional lighting & controls solutions.
With extensive experience in Solution Sales & Business Development in B2B ecosystem within building & infrastructure industry, he is focused at creating a positive and remarkable impact on Lutron’s business. Here are the excerpts of what he shared…
How has the home automation industry in India evolved over the years? And how important is the lighting control system in the home automation setup? Please discuss.
Till some time back, smart home solutions was limited to commercial buildings and grand apartments. However, the concept is now radically changing as the idea of home automation is finding a place in the lives of many middle-class and upper middle-class families. With smart home solutions becoming affordable and easily accessible, the demand for the same is rising at a fast pace. On the other hand, government’s Smart Cities Mission initiative on building smart cities – the core of which is formed by the Internet of Things has also provided a boost to the establishment of Home automation systems. As per a report by Research and Markets, the home automation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.63% in the coming 6 years. The future of the industry visualizes immense prospects of growth & development for technologically advanced and cost-effective organization.
As we know that home automation gives one access to control devices in their home from a mobile device anywhere in the world. Lighting control plays an integral part in the home automation set up, it is an essential component of it. Lighting control system helps one in controlling the amount of energy used, thus ridding people off the worries of paying high electricity bills. People frequently forget to turn off the lights or switch off the buttons that control various functions in the house, lighting control system enables them to do so with just touch of a button, as per their own comfort and convenience.
We all know that control is not new to lighting. How has lighting control tools evolved in the last decade?
Until yesterday, the predominant way of controlling the light was through “bronze era” switches which were mounted on the wall. Today, the entire concept of switches in itself has evolved. Technology advancement over the past few years has paved the way for implausible changes in the area of lighting controls. Nowadays, switches are portable. One can control the lighting of their home simply with the help of an app. Modern light systems can be programed to switch certain lights on or off automatically. This means that one can switch off or dim the light according to room’s setting or an occasion.
State-of-the-art light automation systems involve the use of wireless switches and dimmers as against manual switches. To determine which lights need automation, it is useful to think of lighting scenes. Typical lighting scenes are: sunset, night lights, morning time, dinner, party, entertainment. A room with different kinds of lighting can serve various purposes – movie screening or reading which is determined by the intensity of light. These scenes provide certain lighting levels, depending on the time of day or a particular event taking place in the home. Once one has defined the scenes that they most closely associate with, they can identify the lights needed to accomplish each scene. After one completes the identification process, they’ll have a total count of the number of dimmers or dimming systems needed to support their desired scenes.
Every Lutron dimmer automatically saves 4-9% in electricity—even at the highest lighting levels—over a standard on-off switch. When users choose to dim their lights, even more electricity is saved. Quite simply, the more one dims, the more they save.
How has the control requirements changed with the advent of LEDs in lighting? What addition/deduction could LEDs bring to the control system when compared with the conventional lighting sources?
LED lighting technology is rapidly progressing, and it is very important to know how to control LEDs to ensure success for the end user and to achieve energy savings. An LED is an electronic device (chip) that produces light when an electrical current is passed through it. There are two types of LEDs: the LED lamp (also called a LEDi or retrofit lamp) and the LED fixture.
LED drivers are low-voltage devices that convert the line-voltage 120/220/277 V power to the low voltage needed for the LEDs, and may also interpret control signals to dim the LEDs. Selecting the proper LED driver determines:
- The control type needed to dim the fixture
- The best possible dimming performance
- Potentially, the maximum operating lifetime of the LED product
If dimming is required for LED, important considerations include:
- Dimming range of LED products (100 to 20% vs.100 to 1%)
- Dimming performance and expectations (smooth, continuous, flicker-free)
- LED fixture and driver standards
- Dimmer standards
- LED driver features
- Minimum and maximum loads for LED drivers and controls
There are many control options when it comes to LEDs, with the most common options being:
- Two-wire forward phase
- Two-wire reverse phase
- 3-wire forward phase
- 0-10 V
- EcoSystem® digital
- DALI digital
What major but specific changes did Lutron bring in to its lighting control system to accommodate the same with the LEDs?
As mentioned above, the selection of an appropriate driver is not limited to just making sure it matches the LED module being used. The driver is the primary component that determines the best-possible dimming capabilities of the LED lamp or fixture. Furthermore, the LED driver is one source of potential failure for the LED fixture. The long-life benefits of LEDs are significantly reduced if the driver is not specifically designed for an equally long life.
Beyond compatibility with the LED load, LED drivers must be selected to fit the mechanical constraints of the fixture. For example, Lutron’s LED drivers come in a variety of different form-factors to fit a variety of different fixture types, regional practices, and applications. Lutron continues to master this wave of lighting technology by providing digital control of LEDs and smooth dimming down to 0.1% with its own supreme quality LED driver. It can guarantee perfect compatibility and performance with smooth and flicker-free dimming as well as fade to black. With Lutron’s proprietary digital control named EcoSystem, one can re-group their LEDs anytime per individual wants, without the need for any rewiring.
Just pressing a few buttons can re-configure one’s lightings according to their new layout and changing needs.
Being a leader in the segment, how Lutron is shaping/altering lighting control needs in India?
At Lutron, our intent is to provide a seamless balance of home automation technology and innovative lighting solutions to our customers that make their lives more convenient, comfortable, productive and sustainable. We provide them with energy efficient technology that will not only save energy but also expenses on electricity bills. Interestingly, every Lutron dimmer allows one to automatically save 4-9% in electricity—even at the highest lighting levels. Additionally, an external factor that is helping us change the way people view their lights is through the acceptance of technology.
Modern lighting systems as opposed to traditional lighting control like wall mounted switches, allows one to monitor lighting and heating/cool condition with an internet connection. So, one can switch off a light from their work place, with an app or via text and emails, if they have left it on or switch on an air-conditioners before entering their house. Lutron innovations, leading the market in high quality lighting controls, provides an individual with all these solutions from single room control like GRAFIK Eye® QS preset light and shade control system to total home system like HomeWorks® QS. Also, improving economic conditions and the increasing proliferation of smartphones; smart technologies are getting accepted and are also becoming more prevalent and affordable. Hence, we are pulling all stops to tap this market of the country and serve them in the best possible way through our line of inimitable products.
What all benefits does Lutron provide to its users and what are its Extra Valuation points?
Lutron believes in providing the best lighting solutions to its customers and enabling smart living with efficient lighting systems.
Lutron automated light control systems make a dramatic enhancement to one’s lifestyle, improve comfort, add convenience and save energy. Lutron technology enables one to stay connected with their home appliances/devices on their smart phones and special Lutron key pads.
With Lutron lighting solutions, one can:
- Have total home control when one is out of town or out for an evening in a hassle-free & intelligent means with the Lutron mobile/ tablet app
- Energy saving with unparalleled comprehensive home control solutions-to cater to the shortage of electricity in a country like India
- Reduce the cost associated with electricity bills- Lutron provisions households with energy saving dimmers that control the amount of lighting- more than a simple on or off, adjusting light to suit different needs be it for reading that requires brightness to be at its maximum, watching TV with minimal light etc. Rather than having six switches lined up on a wall, one can eliminate the clutter with the Dynamic Keypad- use it to adjust lights, blinds, HVAC etc. Lutron also allows one to save energy without sacrificing style or convenience.
Lutron remains today the only company in the world which designs and manufactures products to control both electric light and natural light. Lutron has always been the pioneer in lighting controls since our founder invented the first electronic rotary dimmer in 1960.
How does Lutron fit into consumers’ vision of lighting needs?
Lutron enables consumers to make a dramatic enhancement to their lifestyle, improve comfort, add convenience and save energy. Lutron technology allows them to stay connected with their home appliances/ devices even when they are away from home.
Lutron fulfills and delivers “CESC” capabilities- Convenience, Efficiency, Security and Comfort, something that a consumer always looks for. Convenience: Easy access to maneuver, dim or increase the intensity of lights, control the opening and closing of shades etc, all with the touch of a button on ones tablet/smartphone or a dynamic keypad. Efficiency: Managing the lights/ shades in a big house is a constant struggle since once has to manually control the lights/shades/AV equipment etc. Such systems makes life of consumer simpler since the power to control rests in the palm of their hands. Comfort: with enhanced control systems, automation will set their mood almost instantly without them undergoing any real effort. Security: Using automation sensors and communications technology, consumers can carefully and constantly monitor their house security from anywhere which hence allows in creating safe, secure and comfortable environment. CESC fulfils all these demands of a consumer.