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CEDIA 2017: Colorbeam Beaming Over Low-Voltage Lighting Potential

Colorbeam closed out its first year marketing home-wide low-voltage lighting-control systems and lights to residential and commercial A/V integrators in North America, and president Michael Teolis is convinced that more integrators realize they need to turn to a new revenue generator to offset commoditization in the A/V market.

“Dealers have to start moving away from the things they have sold for the past 20 years,” Teolis said. And they’ve begun to make the move, he claimed, pointing to the growth in his dealer base from about a dozen a year ago, when his company exhibited for the first time at a CEDIA show, to more than 150 today. The dealers are serviced by 14 rep firms, up from two reps a year ago. The Quebec-based company has also opened two showrooms, one in Los Angeles and one in New York City.

Colorbeam said it is the only lighting company selling home-wide low-voltage lighting systems through the custom channel. Just as important, he said, is that Colorbeam sells not only a system’s brains and in-wall keypads but the system’s light fixtures and light engines, or lights, to deliver all of the components of a whole-home lighting system. The company’s products also integrate with other companies’ lighting-control systems.

“If you control it [lights], why not sell it and capture the revenue?” he asked. Low-voltage lighting doesn’t require an electrician, he added. “Our advantage is that we are a single-source supplier of all things low voltage, including hardware [controlled by our system].”

Revenue from lighting can exceed A/V revenue because every room needs lighting, and not all need A/V, Teolis said. Low-voltage lighting also helps integrators grow their business more profitably by adding onto existing projects with a complementary technology to expand revenues rather than scurrying to complete more projects, he added. Integrators can leverage existing skill sets to enter the business, he added.

With sales growing, Teolis is expanding his product selection, adding his first white-only tunable LED lights (from 2,700 to 5,500 Kelvin) to complement tunable RGB lights that reproduce multiple colors including white. White-only tunable lights deliver up to 3,000 lumens compared to RGB lights that deliver up to 300 lumens of white light, Teolis said. That reduces the number of lights that have to be installed in a room. “Not every room requires RGB.”

The tunable and dimmable white lights, launched here at CEDIA 2017, are available in recessed down lights, strip lights and drop-ceiling panels. Also new is an expanded selection of landscape and outdoor lights.

Colorbeam systems use Cat-6 cable to deliver low voltage and control signals to lights, which can be daisychained via Cat-6 cable to reduce installation time. “No one else is doing this,” Teolis said. The solution also moves transformers from the lights themselves to the equipment rack, he noted.