Lutron Extends Lighting Control to Google Home via Google Assistant
Lighting controls provider Lutron rolls out Google Assistant voice control integration for its Caseta Wireless lighting control systems; HomeWorks QS and RadioRA 2 support coming in June.
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Building upon its voice control capabilities, Lutron has announced the integration of its residential products and voice control from Google Assistant. The lighting and shade control provider’s voice control support covers technology such as Google Home, Pixel phone, Android phones with embedded Google Assistant, and Android Wear platforms.
“There’s a lot of ways for consumers to access the Google Assistant now, and we’re happy to announce that Lutron lighting control will now be part of that,” Neil Orchowski, product development manager & strategic alliances for Lutron, tells CE Pro.
The Google Assistant voice command functionality will be accessible for use with Lutron’s Caséta Wireless system products effective immediately, and become applicable to its HomeWorks QS and RadioRA 2 lighting control systems in June.
Siri, Alexa, Google Are Covered, But No Google Shade Support Yet
Lutron had previously embraced voice control via Siri (Apple HomeKit) and Amazon Alexa (for Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Fire TV). The company showed off its Alexa abilities for HomeWorks QS and RadioRA 2 during CEDIA 2016 in Dallas last September, following the integration of Alexa for Caséta Wireless earlier last year.
At the outset the voice-activated Google Assistant technology will not work for Lutron’s automated shade systems, notes Orchowski, but that integration capability appears likely to follow suit.
“Voice control for shades is always something were looking to do, it’s just a matter of how we do it on this platform,” he says. “If you look at other voice control platforms that we’ve launched already, with Siri you can control shades directly — say, ‘Hey Siri, open the shades,’ and that works. With Alexa we’ve built shades into scene control, and with Google Assistant that’s still TBD and we hope to have some news for you in the future.”
Lutron worked with Google on the integration, as part of the Pennsylvania-based company’s efforts collaborating with its “strategic alliances,” according to Orchowski.
“As part of that each one of these involves working with the other company directly to make sure 1) we have the technical information to make the integration work and 2) to make sure [there’s a] quality solution that we’ve tested in the end that customers are going to love,” he says.
Like any control interface, the success and amount of mileage the user gets with the voice control application will vary from customer to customer so it will behoove integrators to understand the needs for a residence. Aligning the voice commands with how rooms are configured for a Lutron system will enable users to better achieve results, notes Orchowski.
“I think voice control is really dependent on the person, the situation and the use case that they are in,” he says. “So you may be walking in the front door and you’re carrying a bunch of groceries and you want to turn on the lights you can say, ‘OK Google, put on the pantry lights,’ and your lights will turn on. Or ‘OK Google, turn off the lights,’ and have all the lights go off.
“The way you name your lights within a Lutron system, that’s what then basically gets imported into Google Assistant to trigger that. You would want to use names that you can remember, or typically call that room, so it’s really straightforward from a voice control perspective.”
Early Adopters, Aging-in-Placers Likely to Use Voice Commands
Among those use cases, Orchowski says, are not only tech-savvy consumers who may be into cool new voice control technology, but other demographics that Lutron dealers can address such as seniors who are maintaining aging-at-home lifestyles that benefit from automation.
“Really it’s dependent on how customer adopts voice control into their life,” he says. “Lutron has seen voice control become part of the life at home — it ranges from that walking through the front door, walking into a room type use case; to the aging-in-place market where, for mobility reasons, using your voice is a lot more convenient and in some cases necessary to be able to control your lighting.”
Voice-activated commands via Google Assistant can cover the usual lighting control requests to set the house or particular rooms and areas to the appropriate conditions: you can say turn on the lights, turn off the lights, set the lights to a certain level, brighten the lights, dim the lights, “and that’s what you’ll see coming out of the gate here,” says Orchowski.
Does this mean integrators should plan on being able to throw in a Google Home device with every Lutron system as an attachment sale?
“Will a dealer install this in every home? That’s up to the homeowner. As voice control and Google Home and the Google Assistant become more prominent in general to the marketplace, consumers are going to be asking for it, and we definitely know that a lot of consumers want a professional to help them with these things,” Orchowski says.
“It really fits right in and shows where the connected home, the smart home is going, as we mesh together the great experience that the professional installer provides, whether that’s coming through the CEDIA channel or electrical contractor, and marrying that with some of the great consumer-focused technology that’s out there as well.”
Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at [email protected]
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