The past several years have been good ones for the electronic lighting control industry. The industry is starting to experience trends in pricing and in technology more consistent with the rest of the general electronics sector, a signal of its forthcoming maturation. Until recently, inherent industry norms have impeded the growth of electronic lighting control in the residential market, with the exception of the high-end market. Among these norms have been cost, reliability and readily available training. Limited numbers of dealers has meant limited exposure to consumers.
These factors have been adversely significant but have rapidly diminished, to the advantage of the dealer and the end user.
Similar to most other areas in the electronics sector, sales volume, market competition, and creative Research and Development are combining to lower manufacturing costs and end user prices. Ultimately this spells lower cost and higher product availability for consumers while guaranteeing sustainable growth for the industry.
A combination of design techniques and components borrowed from the Industrial Control industry and vigorous real world testing over a period of years is paying off for both consumers and manufacturers. Lighting control products in the hardwired and radio frequency categories are exhibiting an impressive combination of rugged reliability and functional robustness. Entire systems are now designed from the ground up around real world design challenges such as lightning and unclean power, instead of being modified from existing products and designs. CentraLite Systems’ Elegance is an example of one such robust, ground up design.
Also, some manufacturers in the market are experiencing significant growth, even during a general economic downturn. Consumers and dealers alike are benefiting from the increasing strength and geographical expansion of these manufacturers. All major manufacturers now offer formal dealer training programs and readily available technical support Furthermore, time is demonstrating, not only product robustness but manufacturer robustness as well.
Not long ago, hard-wired lighting systems were prohibitively complex to program, requiring a manufacturer’s technician to be flown on-site to program the system. Tremendous advances have been made in this area. Graphical programming software designed for the familiar Windows? interface has made programming of some systems easy enough to be programmed quickly by the installer and modified by the homeowner. This equates to a quicker system trim out with fewer callbacks for the installer saving the dealer/installer time and money.
Ease of installation and programming, excellent markup potential, and low service callbacks are enticing more custom electronics dealers, general contractors and electrical contractors into the market year after year, ensuring the market a bright future.