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Commence the “light bulb” jokes

From TWICE (registration required) comes news that 21 companies and organizations — including CEA (but not CEDIA?) — have joined to form the Home Lighting Control Alliance to promote lighting controls for new construction, renovations and retrofits. Of all the niche markets served by the professional installer channel today, I’ve long thought that lighting controls had the most potential to break out. Particularly with more reliable wireless technologies such as Z-Wave (already supported by Logitech in its highest-end Harmony remotes) and Zigbee gaining momentum, could be a natural growth opportunity for the Geek Squads and Firedogs after they have grabbed the low-hanging fruit of home theater installations.

However, there are a few key missing participants in this effort, such as Zensys and Lutron, which holds a commanding patent portfolio in home lighting. Furthermore, the business models of CEDIA installers leave little incentive for standardization. This space needs a major disruptive catalyst to set it in motion. Insteon products have hit the right price point; the obstacle is democratizing installation.