Lutron and SnapAV, two of the biggest brands in the home-technology channel, are uniting to help integrators grow their lighting control business. The two companies have announced a multi-year agreement that makes SnapAV the exclusive reseller of a new Lutron RA2 Select Main Repeater with SnapAV's OvrC remote-management platform built in.
RA2 Select is Lutron’s newest wireless lighting control platform that debuted at CEDIA 2017. It consists of a main repeater, Pico remotes, dimmers, switches and occupancy sensors, and can control up to 100 devices, from fixtures to motorized shades. SnapAV will carry the entire RA2 Select product suite. The new OvrC-enabled repeater will be sold exclusively through SnapAV, and the Charlotte, N.C.-based company will not sell any other lighting control systems.
Lutron will continue to manufacture and sell its original RA2 Select Main Repeaters via its other distribution partners. The rest of the RA2 Select product line remains unchanged with identical SKUs that can work using either main repeater. According to SnapAV, the OvrC-enabled main repeater will be sold at the same price as the non-OvrC-enabled version sold by Lutron's other distributors.
Lutron RA2 Select with OvrC Inside
For the SnapAV integrator, the Lutron hub will look like any other OvrC-enabled subsystem on the network, including SnapAV's WattBox power-management, Araknis networking, and Luma video surveillance lines. Dealers enroll the lighting system and remotely manage it as if it SnapAV made the product itself.
Likewise, the user interface in OvrC for RA2 Select will have the same native look and feel as a SnapAV product and service in OvrC. It means integrators will be able to drill down remotely to configure and adjust individual Lutron devices (switches, dimmers, exhaust fans, etc.) that are connected to the main repeater. For integrators, that helps avoid unnecessary truck rolls for tweaking the lighting control.
Gerard Darville, director of product management at Lutron, says the timing is ideal for installers to add lighting controls to their product offering.
“With the growing interest in smart homes, consumers will be most comfortable starting with products they use every day — like lights — and expand from there,” he says. “The opportunity for dealers to expand their businesses with lighting controls has never been greater… and getting started from both the consumer and installer side has never been easier. The simplicity of the RA2 Select wireless lighting control system allows installers to more easily explore these products and grow their business within a category that will ultimately lead to more customers and greater sales.”
Darville notes the ease of system installation and programming means installers can hit the ground running on day one without having to attend any mandatory training classes.
“For Lutron, I think the added capabilities that RA2 Select gets with OvrC is a win. I also think that Lutron looks at SnapAV as a company that knows how to bring products to market and serve dealers really effectively,” says Adam Levy, executive vice president of marketing and customer care at SnapAV.
For every product category it enters, SnapAV is extremely analytical in its market approach and this case is no different.
“Nearly half of dealers in the industry sell lighting control systems less than four times per year,” says Levy. “So, attaching lighting control to jobs more consistently is a big opportunity for dealers—as long as it’s done efficiently. Our job is to make it easier for dealers to sell lighting control more often and help them capture that opportunity. That’s what this relationship is all about.”
Lutron: Fills 'Huge Gap' in Market
The seeds of the relationship were formed during a meeting at CEDIA 2017 and both companies saw that it made sense to work together.
“Both companies identified there was a huge gap in the market with dealers consistently selling lighting control,” says Darville. “At the end of the day, the driving force behind this relationship is market expansion. There are so many integrators Lutron doesn’t get to and SnapAV gives us the opportunity to reach them.”
Levy adds, “The decision to work with Lutron wasn’t taken lightly. I think they would say the same about the decision to work with SnapAV. This is much more than a distribution relationship. Both companies have committed significant product development resources to enable Lutron products natively within OvrC.”
He continues, “For SnapAV, the opportunity to provide the leading solution in a category that’s important for our dealers is obviously great. Being able to add value to that solution with OvrC is even better. Dealers love Lutron’s lighting control solutions. And dealers love OvrC. The opportunity to bring those two things together for dealers made the decision to work together pretty clear. Also, both companies share a service orientation around dealers—good cultural fit like this is important in any relationship.”
He adds, “For Lutron, this deal enhances the value proposition of RA2 Select because we go to market in a different way. Together, we can grow the pie for lighting control. The bottom line is that more dealers are going to install lighting control. A lot of dealers can make a lot more money if they sell more lighting control into more jobs,” he says.
Levy equates the growth opportunity to SnapAV’s acquisition of SunBriteTV back in September 2015: “SunBriteTV already had a 70 percent marketshare in outdoor TVs. We grew that business by helping dealers sell more outdoor TVs more often. We grew the pie.”
SnapAV's recent purchase of Midwest distributor Allnet, known for its training prowess, could be an ideal fit for introducing integrators to RA2 Select.
SnapAV Handling Tech Support, Training
As part of the deal, SnapAV will handle tech support and training for the OvrC-enabled RA2 Select product, not Lutron.
“We have a large tech support team that we are training on the Lutron product as if it was our own product line. Our dealers love our tech support,” says Levy.
He says the company has 85 people in its Custom Care organization and more than 30 in Tech Support.
Darville notes that 90 percent of the programming required for RA2 Select is auto-populated, and Lutron’s feedback from integrators is that it takes less than one minute to set up an individual RA2 Select device.
“Everything is so simple via the app,” he notes. “Integrators tell us they can set up RA2 Select systems without any product training.”
SnapAV is also handling the training. Its portal has extensive training videos and other learning tools. The company already has experience handling other companies’ product lines. It has distribution agreements with Atlona, BenQ and Pioneer, but Levy is quick to point out that this Lutron relationship is different.
“This is not a distribution agreement but rather an opportunity for two companies to come together to grow the industry. This is a new product. It will be the only third-party product that we carry that will have native OvrC control,” he points out.
Levy concludes, “This is another way we can help our dealers be successful. That’s our mission—when we do that, it’s always a win. This is a win for dealers—and, ultimately, that’s what makes it a win for Lutron and SnapAV: Dealers get the top lighting solution (CE Pro Brand Analysis) on the top remote system management platform (CE Pro Brand Analysis) …supported by the best customer service in the industry (CE Pro Quest for Quality)…and available on the best website (CE Pro Quest for Quality). I think that’s what makes this a win-win-win.”