Colorbeam’s LVDC Lighting System Delivers Power, Control over Single Cat 5 Cable

Already deployed in commercial spaces, Colorbeam NorthAmerica targets home-technology channel for LVDC lighting, with power and control delivered over a single Cat 5 cable.


Colorbeam NorthAmerica, provider of a low-voltage/DC lighting system that delivers power and control over a single Cat 5 cable, thinks the high-end home market is ready for LVDC lighting. The company exhibited at the recent SoCal Technology & Business Summit, a regional tradeshow hosted by nine area home-technology rep firms.

The line is represented in Southern California by Joaquin Rivera and his team at ByDesign Vision & Sound, which is “trying to help dealers specify something different, something unique,” Rivera told CE Pro during the show.

ColorBeam is represented in New York by Big Apple Technology and the company plans to fill out the rest of the U.S. with similar rep firms that serve the custom integrator channel, according to co-founder Maurizio Gaudio, who is a former integrator himself.

Cat 5-based lighting is all the rage these days, coming from Cisco, Cree, GE, Philips and other manufacturers of luminaires, drivers, controllers and the rest of the lighting ecosystem; however, the big players don’t seem much interested in the residential market, at least not for the near future.

But Colorbeam thinks its Cat 5 solution is ready for the home. Gaudio says the company, which demonstrated Crestron integration at the Summit, already has drivers for “all the major control systems.”At the recent Lightfair International 2016, most of the majors told CE Pro that LVDC in the home is way off in the distance. The low-hanging fruit is the commercial market, where buildings have drop ceilings, long (expensive) wire runs, frequently-changing office layouts, demanding codes for energy efficiency, and in-house staff to maintain a networked lighting system that has more to do with networks than with lighting.

Colorbeam employs the popular DMX lighting-control protocol for communications. The same Cat 5 used for communications also is used to power the fixtures, unlike some other solutions that require a separate wire for power.


View Colorbeam Specs and Schematics

The LED DMX 200-watt driver/processor ($750 retail) features four Cat 5 ports for four zones of lighting, each of which can support four LED fixtures (starting at $130 retail) for a total of 16 bulbs, which amounts to less than $3,000 total.

Given the cost of Romex, a control system and high-quality LED fixtures, the Colorbeam price amounts to a savings of about 30% for integrators who would otherwise hire an electrician for the install (or a 15% discount for existing electricians).

Available in white and RGB, Colorbeam’s tunable bulbs come in a variety of form factors and wattages – recessed, wall-mounted, linear and flood with a number of different trims. Within the fixture, bulbs can be set to 20-, 40-, and 60-degree angles, “which is very important for lighting designers,” says Gaudio.

Colorbeam NA isn’t exactly a start-up, although it is new to the custom integration channel.

Gaudio says the company has been working on the product for more than three years and has more than 100 installations large and small.

The company makes its big debut at Infocomm 2016.

Colorbeam LVDC lighting controls

Other Resi LVDC Players

Colorbeam certainly is not the first company to target the home-tech channel for LVDC lighting. At CEDIA Expo 2015, we called out four companies showing similar products: Innovative Lighting (Genisys PoE lighting), Rimikon, Illumadrive and Coastal Source.

In fact, at the SoCal Summit, Randy Wilson of I Rep Green touted Rimikon's low-voltage lighting system, which already has drivers for Control4, Crestron, RTI and URC home automation systems, as well as DMX controllers.

LumenCache and NuLeds, two early favorites for LVDC lighting, did not exhibit at CEDIA last year, but both companies are still plugging away at the Cat 5 lighting market.

Next: Top 5 Home Tech Trends for 2016: LVDC Lighting

The SoCal Technology & Business Summits held earlier this month in Los Angeles and Orange Country drew a total of about 550  people, including over 425 dealers. In addition to CEU classes, the event featured a projecor/screen demo area as well as a Dolby Atmos 4K UHD demo presented by Dolby Labs' Craig Eggers.

The next summits are in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 14 and Orlando on June 16.

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
Julie Jacobson:

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