Kramer Electronics Acquires Home Automation Provider iRule
Israel-based Kramer, a giant provider of audio/video distribution systems for commercial venues, has acquired iRule, developer of popular home automation software for DIYs and pros.
“We now have 25 offices around the world to help us sell products,” says iRule founder and CEO Itai Ben-Gal in an interview with CE Pro.
The two companies have worked together since early 2015, when Kramer used iRule software as the basis of its first comprehensive control system called K-Touch.
Previously, commercial A/V pros had to rely on third-party control systems like Crestron or AMX to integrate Kramer products. They can still do that, of course, but they can also use Kramer’s home-grown K-Touch platform.
For its part, iRule had focused on the DIY home-automation market for most of its seven-year existence, selling basic A/V control software for as little as $50. By 2013, however, the company started investing heavily in the pro-installation channel, adding integration drivers for pro-centric subsystems.
That year, iRule acquired On Controls, a company that was enhancing the iRule platform for the installer channel.
When Kramer demonstrated iRule-based solutions at Infocomm 2016, “they took home five ‘best-of’ awards,” Ben-Gal says.
Kramer’s investment in iRule “became more strategic” over the past two years, so it made sense for Kramer to buy out other iRule investors.
“We get to do more of what we want to do,” Ben-Gal says. “Sometimes you can get more done with fewer voices.”
He says iRule and On Controls are not abandoning the residential market per se, “but we are continuing a trajectory that has us more focused on commercial.”
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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