Lutron Electronics has signed an agreement to acquire Ketra, a company known for its Natural Light LED lighting solution, which can shift the color and intensity of building’s lighting throughout the day to mimic sunlight in interior spaces.
Founded in 2009 in Austin, Texas, Ketra offers both lighting and control solutions that deliver customizable light in residential and commercial environments. Ketra’s selection of light sources creates high-quality white, pastels and saturated colors, which are intended to enhance the look of any space and allow a lighting designer to precisely tailor the light to meet the needs of the space.
Ketra light sources are compatible with the Lutron HomeWorks QS total home-control system, meaning that installers can provide their customers with tunable light that shifts in color and intensity throughout the day, similar to sunlight. For instance, morning and early afternoon light is cool and bright. Then, as the day draws to a close, blue content is gradually reduced and eliminated, delivering warmer light in the evening.
HomeWorks QS customers can directly control Ketra products through their system keypads and the Lutron Connect app.
Ed Blair, Lutron senior VP, said it was a natural extension for Lutron to expand its product portfolio with Ketra light sources and controls. “This acquisition allows Lutron to take care of its customers with the most comprehensive portfolio of light control solutions in the industry. Moreover, it uniquely positions Lutron for the greatest success in the market’s areas of growth, like simulated natural light, smart homes and buildings, and tunable white.”
Nav Sooch, Ketra CEO, said the acquisition will provide numerous benefits to lighting professionals and homeowners alike. “Lutron’s global reach, unmatched service, support and outstanding reputation offer new opportunities to expand the market for Ketra’s unique Natural Light offering,” he stated. “We’re excited to join the Lutron family and together bring new solutions to our customers.”
Blair said that Lutron considered starting from scratch and developing its own version of tunable lighting, but recognized Ketra’s unique innovations and head start in the category. The acquisition gave Lutron the opportunity “to lead quickly in the area of beautiful and controllable light,” he explained.
The company feels that its previous experience introducing motorized shades to the custom integration channel provides a similar roadmap for this lighting category. Training requirement will be different, of course, as CI dealers will need basic lighting design training to better communicate with the lighting design community or perhaps become lighting designers in their own right. A second level of training, Blair said, would enable dealers to learn the “Ketra technology magic” of tuning the color temperature, providing a Natural Light experience, and adjusting saturation levels to improve the beauty of artwork, for instance.
“I think that will be exciting because [CI dealers] clearly have the ability to learn new areas and take that knowledge to their customers,” Blair said. “And they’re probably better equipped to do it than a lot of the other trades. It’s definitely a significant growth area for the channel.”
Lutron’s goal is to create a seamless experience for the customer. “The end consumer is going to feel like they have one lighting system in their house,” Blair said. “As we work together, you’ll begin to see the control system merge together in a way that makes sense, so that you’re not necessarily carrying around two platforms and having redundancy in the technical equipment. We use the best of Lutron and the best of Ketra to produce a great solution for the customer.”
Ketra products are only sold through select U.S.-based lighting showrooms and A/V dealers — not direct to consumers. Lutron will showcase the technology for the channel at its booth this fall at CEDIA Expo.
“At CEDIA, we’re going to show people its real impact in an environment as it works in unison with Lutron shades, keypads and thermostats, in an effort to create the most beautiful environment in the industry,” Blair said.