By Jeff Thomas, Snap One VP of Product Management
As more competition has emerged and prices have dropped, average homeowners are now able to enjoy the lifestyle benefits of the latest automation and lighting technologies. Despite the major convenience highly-customized lighting design offers, some homeowners are still hesitant to adopt it due to a lack of adequate education or physical experience that demonstrates the value and potential of smart lighting. For custom integrators, the growing availability of affordable solutions that combine fixture-level control with whole-home programmability presents a huge market of opportunity.
Education Eases Hesitation
Homeowners have grown accustomed to the typical on/off light switch, which is one of the most familiar home technologies ever, having held onto the same basic design and functionality for nearly 130 years. Potential customers may be unaware of how outdated the technology in their home is, and assume that swapping in LED bulbs is the height of innovation and modern convenience. This couldn’t be further from the truth, with so many advanced capabilities available through today’s leading smart lighting solutions, including scheduled automation, voice control, tunable colored LED bulbs and fixtures, trigger-based illumination, and direct coordination with security systems.
A simple way to pitch a client who is hesitant to adopt smart, connected lighting is to start by asking if they want a large number of light switches in each room. For instance, see if they’d be okay with five or six switches in the kitchen; Ask how many is too many. Then reveal how a room with six lighting loads can be controlled through a multi-button keypad with custom-engraved buttons, or through a mobile device app or even voice control. It’s much harder to argue in favor of the old style. Initiating this conversation leads most customers to understand that having too many light switches will lead to confusion and lacks the polish of every other form of technology we are accustomed to today. The primary function of modern lighting solutions is to make home life easier, and it’s imperative for integrators to communicate the simplicity of control and automation.
As a result of new design standards and homeowner expectations, manufacturers have re-imagined what wall plates and switches can look like. Today’s smart lighting comes in contemporary designs, offering options beyond the traditional almond, ivory, or white switches and faceplates. Additionally, the idea of what a light fixture looks like has evolved to include everything from lamps and ceiling cans to LED strip lights that offer full RGB color control and virtually unlimited placement.
A major selling point for smart lighting—especially for customers who work from home—is that it can set a particular mood through changes in intensity and color temperature. Color-tunable lighting is becoming a favorite feature among smart homeowners because it allows them to customize their space for a variety of functions. These homeowners can experience the appearance of a bright, energizing workplace during the day, then switch to a more subdued, warm environment in the evening. With scheduling and automation, lighting can be tied directly to the time of day and provide enhanced comfort by matching indoor lighting to the current natural light environment outside.
Seeing is Believing
When it comes to selling smart lighting, showing is better than telling. Having showrooms or access to finished projects gives integrators the opportunity to create inventive ‘tours’ that highlight the possibilities of consolidated lighting control, which grow exponentially when connected to other systems such as security or motorized window shades.
Integrators have been successful in selling advanced lighting by creating scenes for commonly-requested needs such as dining, cleaning, relaxing and entertaining, each with specific lighting levels, colors, and use of fixtures. The creation of these scenes is one of the most basic smart lighting capabilities but is a groundbreaking idea for clients who’ve never given much thought to the ambiance customized lighting can create.
If an integrator is unable to provide an in-person demonstration, creating videos can be an effective tool and can quickly demonstrate everything from house-wide automation to remote access.
The New Normal
More and more homeowners are beginning to understand the need for advanced lighting solutions. While some previous devices or solutions may have demanded aesthetic tradeoffs, contemporary lighting systems are purely beneficial. Architects, designers, and builders have responded to homeowners’ ever-changing tastes by working together in the planning stages of builds and remodels to ensure maximum utility and convenience from the home’s electronics from the get-go.
As current consumer tastes and building trends move toward ultra-efficient whole-home LED lighting, custom integrators have the opportunity to become the top knowledge resource for homeowners as well as gain the trust and respect of designers through thoughtful use and control of light. Whether it’s used to illuminate artwork, landscapes, or a kitchen counter, every space can be highly customized to create unique immersive experiences that make guests want the same in their own home.