Lighting integration is a tough game, no doubt. Recent studies from some industry thought leaders have confirmed what most integrators have been saying for years, lighting is simply not widely accepted as a necessary vital part of an integrators arsenal. Too many hurdles and struggles are realized when an attempt is made to slide to the high voltage side. Just not worth it. The control aspect of lighting has always been challenging enough, up until recently dedicating any resources at all to selling the actual fixtures themselves, was a complete waste of time. I get it completely. This has absolutely been my experience as well. I have sold, designed and implemented many a lighting system in my years in the industry and I can say with confidence that less than 10% were deployed in a commercial space.
All that being said, for those of you who threw out this notion long ago, there may be a new dawn rising on this that could be worth taking a look at. The industry giant Lutron is now starting to offer low voltage lighting solutions that can be fully implemented by an integrator. And a company such as LumaStream now offers a complete family of low voltage LED lighting system (including the fixtures) that would empower a dealer to literally design and install the entire lighting package end to end. And all a dealer would ever need from an electrician are outlets to plug the gear in at the HV headend.
Without question the most strategic way to have success in offering these solutions is to breach the discussion with the stakeholders as early as possible. Much of what will have to be contended with is the “don’t know”. No one would ever know to ask the low voltage contractor to address their lighting needs. So having your ducks in a row when it comes to selling them on the reasons why they should choose you for this will be essential. If you are a company that is starting down the road of offering “As-A-Service” or “Managed Services” as part of your business model, managing lighting and offering solutions that minimize power consumption will fit perfectly. LED bulb technology and the implication of it on sustainable building designs are very hot ticket right now. Leveraging that beyond the bulbs is where we come in. The carbon footprint of a building is directly and most extensively impacted by power consumption tied to lighting. An all low voltage LED lighting system has a very strong value proposition.
There’s no question that the list is still relatively long on challenges that remain, but at a time when the advent of affordable technology (AKA commoditization) is permeating most aspects of our industry driving margins down, lighting and lighting integration is one of the new old ways we can recapture aspects of what we do that will hold margin where it needs to be.