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Thread: Future of RadioRA2 (not a Lutron opinion)

  1. #1
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    Future of RadioRA2 (not a Lutron opinion)

    Considering the following threads: https://forums.lutron.com/showthread...dioRA2-Updates and https://forums.lutron.com/showthread...dioRA2-Refresh, coupled with the announcement of Caseta moving to 75 devices July 8th, I think I know where we are headed. The main repeater is a very old piece of equipment. The Caseta SmartBridge and the RA2 Select main repeater are far more powerful processors. So here it goes- 1. Main Repeater and original Aux repeater to be phased out, but still viable via the software. Connect Bridge will follow suit. 2. RA2 Select mains will be allowed to be programmed via the software, thus allowing the keypads and various other parts not available in RA2 Select currently to be used. 3. App programmed RA2 Select will still cap out at 100 devices, but wallbox keypads (W6BRL, Etc.) and Hybrid Keypads (H6BRL, HN6BRL) will be available to those who have passed the L1 course. 4. Inclusive will remain for twin main systems and the special devices they have access to, like WPMs and GraphicT. Just my thoughts, but I've been at the RA2 game for a long time- first L2 class in February 2010. Forum member number 59, from before it was open to the public. I've seen the system grow and evolve and this seems to be the natural progression. I also program Control4- think of this like Composer Express app for commissioning a system start up and Composer Pro for full programming features.Why? Everything has moved to app based programming and cloud API's. RA2S and Caseta integrate easily with these, where RadioRA2 requires the Connect Bridge. Extra cost in an environment that gets more and more price conscience and closer to DIY. Will it change our business model as installers and programmers? I think only slightly, if at all. The larger homes still need a higher level of programming, and will require keypads not available currently in RA2S. Our systems will be easier to deploy, commission, program, and sell. All equipment has an end-of-life. Anyone still using a Commodore 64?This has been on my mind for about two years. Caseta to 75 devices seems to push us in this direction. Mods/Lutronites- feel free to delete this if it out of line. Hopefully this thread sparks a discussion that lights the fire in the RA2 acolytes that have supported the product line for the last 10 years. Let's see what others think- we've seen Lutron respond (sometimes slowly) to suggestions on this forum; i.e. Caseta at 75 and the Caseta fan speed controller.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  2. #2
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    OK SDR. If you don't egt this thread removed I may. I honestly don't think Lutron or any moderators are watching this site. Spam is still there. They use to at least remove it. A lot to work through in your post. I'll start with a few things then post more later. My concern with RA2 is mostly in the programming software side. I know we'll never see conditional logic. I get that and am not fighting it. That being said, conditional was added the second they added thermo stats. Thermos are all about conditional. But I digress. Always wanted to digress. One function to enable entertain scene and disable/adjust time clocks. I digress. Software wise there are so many ways to improve it with things that are available in most any windows product. More keyboard short cuts. To much mouse clicking when a simple short cuts would make things more productive. Better reports. Never bothered me that we needed to add a connect bridge. Extra cost usually isn't a problem on new jobs just on the old jobs because the old app is dead. Would be cool if it was built into a new gen repeater. Getting hard to find open network port in a world that is turning to WIFI very quickly. What I don't want to see is programming and large system with an app. I have done Caseta and Select. OK for smaller systems but limited. I'm old school. Give me a laptop screen. Less scrolling. Also would be very disappointed with Lutron if they came out with RA3 that made RA2 obsolete. I too have been around a bit. I may be in a small group that can, and is willing to, fix-repair- trouble shoot Ra Classic. I was very happy with the RA2 jump. Made a already reliable system better. I get that technology pushes companies to keep up. RA2 is a good system. Need some wounds stitched up but it's reliable and does most anything my costumers need. If it doesn't I tell them to take a look at HWQS or any number of systems out there that can. Then they call back and ask for Ra2. When I have to fix a Ra2 or Classic it is generally a physical problem. Broken dimmer that just needs a new color kit. Or someone(Geek Squad)unplugged the main. By the way I love Geek Squad. I have gotten good business fixing their mess. So, I undersrtand one day there will be a switch over of some sort. HW has how many? I just don't see a technology reason at this point to completely destroy the current RA2 market.

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    Lutron has been all-in on the Ketra thing. Even before the purchase was announced. They are devoting a lot of resources to its development. Their shade business has exploded. It is now their #1 product, by a wide margin. Expect changes/updates to lighting to be slower in the future. I don't believe the Caseta Bridge or R2S repeater are more powerful. They have some features that appeal to a DIYers, but in terms of computing power, the RA2 main repeater with its integration protocol is, in my mind, more powerful. And those features could easily be added to the Connect Bridge. I don't see Lutron blurring the lines between RA2 and R2S/CAS. RA2 is intended for a specific market. A market that Lutron wants to be in. Blending RA2 with consumer products would essentially be abandoning this market. Lutron also distributes their products through specific channels. They have resisted any changes to this model. I don't see the connect bridge going anywhere. I can see them getting some "add on" features like Wink integration, etc. Some of these features are software driven, some are hardware driven. The connect bridge is also used by HomeWorks. I see the systems evolving away from wall controls (dimmers) and toward fixture controls. We will have a RF/WiFI device in each fixture controlled by a RF/WiFi keypad. This will require a separate network (VLAN), maybe two depending on the number of devices. The Ketra stuff is almost ready for release so maybe lighting will get some love then??
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the Ketra info. If true at least we have some explanation for the lack of feed back on lighting. RF in the fixtures. Interesting idea. Would make trouble shooting fun.

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    The Ketra thing is cool - no question about it. If you thought HQS was expensive, HQS + Ketra is, well you can do the math. I think it is going to be a hard sell. I don't think we will ever see the bridge integrated into the Main Repeater. First, it would double the number of SKUs. You would have to have a Main with bridge and a Main without. Otherwise you are paying for a 2nd bridge when you already have one. Same is true with HQS, except it has 2 processors so you would need 4 SKUs. Second, they have 2 different functions. In most cases it is easier to update just the bridge. Adding Apple required a hardware change. That is easier to do with a stand-alone bridge. The fixture control isn't new. Philips does it with Hue. There are some others. Lutron does it with EcoSys and DALI (albeit wired). The problem has always been scale. I have about 20 zones on the RA2 system in my town house. That equates to ~200 fixtures/bulbs. I also do Classic RA, HomeWorks Original, HomeWorks Interactive, and HomeWorks Illumination. Plus some non-Lutron brands I agree RA2 needs some creature comforts. The graphics are nice but take up too much real estate. I'd like to see the RA2 interface look more like HQS. Cut/Copy/Paste should be easier (even HWO had better cut/paste). If I could only have 1 feature, I would love to see a list of all the loads when programming. Now, I have to remember that the foyer chandelier is in the up hall, garage floods are in the mud room, etc. Being able to sort/filter that list would be a dream.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  6. #6
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    Dream baby, DREEEEAM. Would love to see the interface cleaned up to help the programmer be more productive. As far as WIFI in fixtures my mind was thinking more lighting fixtures not bulbs. I'm aware of the Hue and other brands. Putting WIFI in custom chandeliers for example would be, uh, interesting. I large scale home WIFI in each bulb or fixture would be enormous. But look at Luxor FX Luminaire. From what I understand each light has its own ID in it's own proprietary system so you can do all sorts of things with them.

  7. #7
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    One-bulb fixtures, like can-lights, would be the first step. Being able to set the different tiers of a chandelier on at different levels would be cool. Even a random pattern so it didn't look/act like one big bulb would be cool.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

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    MitchE- we should go to lunch soon. And record the conversation and send to Lutron. That would fix them up, quick! Provided they followed our advice.I think wifi bulbs are nice, but within specific applications. Multi-tiered chandeliers would be cool, but every bulb in the houses the size MitchE works on would be a network nightmare. How many times have we gone in and found garbage wifi, garbage network equipment, and a rat's nest of ethernet cables? Relying on wifi bulbs I believe is a monster mistake asking for call backs. It's one of the founding reasons RA2 stayed clear connect, and not wifi, z-wave, zigbee, or God forbid- PLC (they actually tested this and abandoned!). I would avoid Hue and the like for whole home based on the wifi nightmare and poor performance when everything popcorns or fails to respond. Nothing like that call where the homeowner hit All Off and three lights remained on- that are on the system. That's a trouble call waiting to happen, and telling the homeonwer that it is because his network/wifi is inadequate won't fly- "but it was working before- so fix it" and at no charge!MitchE- I'm not saying that the entire system be programmed via app, but how many jobs have a low keypad count (that aren't your companies jobs, those are designed well). It would be nice to activate the entire system running around with an app, then grab a laptop to finish programming after connecting and downloading the configuration. Would eliminate a lot of problems I see when the installer is not the designer or programmer. Stuff is NEVER what I laid out, drew out, or planned. Things always change.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  9. #9
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    Most of you aren't aware, MitchE and I live about 5 miles from each other and have been working together for about 6 years or so.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  10. #10
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    Need to check with my agent on my recording fee. Trying not to be negative on Lutron but I'm honestly not sure they are listening. Big company with lots of pots on the stove, cooks in the kitchen, .... buns in the oven. Again don't expect a complete redesign of the system or software. Just some improvements. Activating by app then programming on my laptop would be a awesome. 90% of the time putting in all the codes then letting it activate will I'm doing something else works. But that 10% when the guys write down the wrong code or mix up devices then I'm walking a 5-6 thousand sq ft house to trouble shoot really kills my time. App assistance would be killer. Also built in WIFI in fixture would be interesting. Not saying I'm into that option just interesting. The reason I always default to Lutron system over WIFI based is as you said. Reliability. Even with all the WIFI advancements I still find signals even in smaller house to be horrible. I have a house now that want's automated lights and Ring doorbell because neighbor got robbed. I put in Ring she purchased after testing telling her that her WIFI was week. Ring works sort of. Ring does not like week signal. Was going to give a price on the other L's in wall WIFI timers but don't trust the network in that house. Her mouth dropped when I told her a rough price for those timers. Doubt she'll like a Lutron price. But I know I can trust clear connect. And I have pushed it way beyond it's limits. Lutron has spoiled me in that regard. I now expect the same from other brands but in fairness it not the brand it's what the brand has to rely on for connection. And after all these years you still answer my calls. My wife send me to voice mail.

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