Why should integrators’ clients only be able to afford to offer intelligent lighting solutions in a portion of the home? Why not the entire home? Those are key questions being asked by Liteline, a Toronto-based lighting manufacturer targeting the custom installation channel.
The company, which was at Lightapalooza 2023 in Phoenix in February, is certainly not a newbie in the lighting industry. It has been in business since 1979 and is the largest supplier of recessed downlights in Canada, with about 80% market share of residential downlights in the Great White North, according to Jason Feus, national connected lighting sales manager at Liteline USA.
The company has three siblings as co-presidents: Sarah Silverstein, who runs the U.S. market; Dan Silverstein, who is in charge of production and innovation, and Mark Silverstein, who heads up the Canadian market. About 12 years ago, the company entered the U.S. market, targeting the usual suspects of Juno and Halo.
“We learned that the U.S. electrical wholesale channel is a very well-guarded front,” says Feus. To combat that, Liteline shifted its U.S. market focus toward the commercial specification market, targeting architects and electrical engineers via independent reps and a direct sales force handling national accounts. Among the reps hired by Liteline was Carolina Controls, of which Feus was a principal. Feus focused on the residential side of Carolina Controls’ business, which included selling Lutron. Today, he is an employee of Liteline and was central to the company’s presence at Lightapalooza.
“Sarah saw what we were doing on the residential side and about 8 years ago we started selling Liteline to AV integrators,” recalls Feus. “When I started selling lighting to the AV channel, they didn’t even know what intelligent dynamic lighting was.”
The company offers a broad range of downlight fixtures and price points, which Feus describes as “builder-grade” versus “museum curator-grade” fixtures. The company has seven distinct categories of recessed downlights, along with tape lighting and specialty lighting. To help dealers understand the breadth of the portfolio, the company has a simplified linecard.
Liteline $200 Recessed Intelligent Downlights
Among the more popular lines for integrators is Skye, a high-performance downlight with regressed optics for reduced glare and interchangeable magnetic grilles, similar to what integrators encounter when installing in-ceiling speakers.
Just looking solely at the Skye line gives integrators insight into the depth of options from Liteline. It comes in 4-inch or 6-inch dynamic-color and tunable-white selectable versions, with round or square trims in black, white, brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze.
The trips adhere magnetically, making them easy to install for integrators. The fixtures are correlated color temperature (CCT) selectable via a unique switching tool below the ceiling, or the color and tunable white can be changed via Wi-Fi control using SKYE OnCloud.
In 2016, Liteline debuted the Luna line, the first sealed, gimbled wet-location downlight in the industry, according to the company, making it ideal for bathroom or sauna applications. Prior to Luna, all downlights in wet locations had to be fixed and could not rotate. Luna is able to be rotated 22 degrees.
Almost all the company’s fixtures are IC-rated, meaning the fixtures can be placed in contact with insulation with no fear of overheating. That means there is no need for a backbox housing. Installers simply use brackets to place the fixtures in new construction, similar to loudspeaker brackets. The dynamic color range extends up to 16 million colors, while the tunable white range is from 2,000 to 6,000 Kelvin.
The coup de gras is that Liteline offers Luna, Skye and its Sigma lines of downlights in some cases for less than $200 with strong margins. Feus notes that comparable downlights able to provide human-centric lighting are in the $1,200 range.
“Why should only the primary suite in a home get human-centric lighting?” Feus asks rhetorically. “With Liteline, dealers can outfit the entire home with dynamic lighting. They are going to sell way more controllable lights in a home than they would otherwise because the customer will be able to afford it.”
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