Q&A: Vantage Controls’ Reid Cram Talks Trends in Lighting
Reid Cram, director of marketing at Vantage Controls, comments on the evolution in integrated lighting design and how the move toward LED is impacting corollary categories.
Technology Integrator: In tracking the trend trajectory in lighting design, how significant is the move towards the use of LED lighting? In general, how is it impacting lighting control brands such as Vantage in terms of how to accommodate this growing trend?
Reid Cram: The significance of the move toward LED lighting is huge. We’re finding that the fundamental drivers to the move are energy efficiency – a megatrend that will continue in importance – lamp life, and also the ability for precise color control. Each of these have a draw for residential and commercial projects.
This impacts Vantage in an extremely positive way because we aren’t just trying to accommodate the growing trends, but rather seeking to lead this trend with the proper technology. We are making it a priority to drive this so it is easier to understand and apply for the specifier and installer.
TI: Why did this type of lighting gain traction, and what challenges does LED lighting’s increasing adoption among designers pose for the residential and the commercial installer that Vantage can help to solve?
RC: The drive for energy efficiency is really the original impetus that helped LED lighting gain traction. According to the Department of Energy, consumers will use around 75 percent less energy with LEDs and some lamps can last up 25 times longer than incandescents. That combo really has driven the initial adoption, and the color options drive that as well.
Solving the problem of increased demand is the driver behind our introduction of the Universal Dimming Module and the Universal Dimming Station; if a specifier adds those into the project from the start, it doesn’t matter if they specify incandescent or LED, or if the specification changes; we have product that can work with both.
TI: What other trends among builders and designers are helping to shape the types of products Vantage offers – for example, the effort to reduce the energy footprint, in aggregate, in an installation?
RC: Again, the major trend has been the effort to reduce the energy footprint of a building, or to reach net zero. But you also see trends in the areas of seeking lighting solutions that match circadian rhythms for health and wellbeing – or the desire for color control within a building for dramatic effect. And, on the residential side, you see the continuing demands for architectural dimming and more technology in the home.
When you look at the types of products Vantage offers, you see that we seek to find ways to address multiple needs and wants within those spaces. Further, good design and aesthetics also play a role in this. And at Vantage we are focusing on partnering with our other brands under Legrand, such as Adorne, to provide additional options that meet the need.
TI: Energy efficiency can be achieved through managing natural and artificial light through a combination of shading and lighting solutions. Please talk about how lighting and shading solutions, because of the wide variety of options and combinations available, can accommodate designers’ concerns with preserving aesthetics while getting the job done. And talk about Vantage products’ flexibility in working with different manufacturers’ shading solutions.
RC: When I think of our lighting and shading solutions collectively, I think about how we work to achieve a high standard for what the quality of light is that we can deliver when considering color and temperature.
And from a shading standpoint, we have a wide variety of colors and fabrics that are going to match the décor. The wireless shading, especially, provides the ability to offer that in a remodel or retrofit application.
For Vantage, we offer a single interface that controls both shading and lighting, which really improves the user experience and the flexibility of designers in offering these solutions. To that end, we are helping meet that demand to manage natural and artificial light in a very connected and comprehensive solution.
In addition, while QMotion is also a Legrand brand, so we integrate very well with their shading solution, our Design Center software offers drivers for integration with other shading manufacturers.
TI: What specific solutions does Vantage offer to help installers execute energy-efficient installations – for example, with products that automatically sense and monitor occupancy and vacancy and can adjust lighting accordingly and intuitively?
RC: We have occupancy controls in Vantage where the sensors can offer the controller-specific occupancy information that will turn off the lighting. And if we have areas that are occupied, but ambient light is coming in, the lights can adjust based on that level of light.
The shading and the lighting systems also interact with each other to provide the perfect room and scene. We give the installer a ton of flexibility on the software level to allow them to program it based on time of year, time of day, and what time of the week it will be.
TI: In our earlier conversation, you spoke about Human Centric Lighting (HCL) – or, tuning the color temperature of fixtures to match clients’ circadian rhythms – as an appealing prospect, and an angle of lighting control that could arguably be a lucrative profit center for installers, if properly presented to clients.
In that context, please tell our readers a little about Legrand’s relationship with Lumenetix, which is in the business of tunable color lighting in the service of design and aesthetics.
RC: We are working very closely with Lumenetix and their araya5 technology. They’re well known in the residential market with their quality of light. We are able to work with them to communicate from our controller to their logic module to deliver the quality of light that is required.
Through that, we’re giving installers – and end users – a total solution for HCL control as we have tasks within our Design Center software to control the scenes and settings necessary to make it a very appealing solution. This provides the installer and design teams with the capability of providing these robust solutions for their clients, that is critical to offer.
TI: What are the most important overall initiatives Vantage is putting forward to educate the builder/designer community about how its products can help make their jobs easier and their clients happier – and how are you helping integrators that you work with make those other disciplines more knowledgeable about such options?
RC: We provide local training resources available for installers and are building a library of AIA-accredited presentations for the architect and designer community. We have these options available at dealer.vantagecontrols.com
We also participate at tradeshows and work with a network of local rep agencies to provide additional training and support.
TI: Are there any other current or future Vantage offerings that you would care to comment on that mean easier, less labor-intensive and more customer-pleasing results for the installer that we’ve not already touched on?
RC: The Universal Dimming Station was designed for easier installation in a number of ways. That opens up an entirely new offering for installers to provide to homeowners as it reduces cost and labor time. There is more information at our website. We’ve also partnered with Adorne to provide a broader range of aesthetics and we’re continuing to build up our wireless product line to make lighting control easier and easier.