@Neurorad I appreciate your presence in the forum and your helpful advice, I really do. I'll try to keep my answers short and not come-off too car salesman-like. I know it seems like you always suggest Lutron and that I may always suggest Somfy, but as a fabricator I fabricate both and depending on the request, needed features, budget, or spec, I'll sell Lutron if that is the best fit.
For some reason I have to open my mouth when I see things that don’t make sense. In general I see average consumers with assumed average income being sold Lutron RA2, Control4, or Prodigy as affordable solutions for automation or Lutron QS/QED as affordable solutions for shading. I feel pretty average
, and when it comes to my money those systems aren't affordable. Yes Lutron has a quieter motor, but does it justify a 2-3 times increase in cost after install and markup??? Not for the average consumer, if you just want motorized shades that can be automated. The average run time for a shade is 20-30sec twice a day, so people end up paying a premium for an ultra quiet motor so they don't have to hear it one minute or so a day. Ferrari’s aren’t for average consumers obviously, but Lutron products should be? Ford and Chevy are good cars so I don’t have a problem with the comparison, but let’s keep things in perspective in that we are talking about window coverings. If you have Lutron shades, congratulations they are nice.
As far as a business differentiating between two product lines, I don’t see your point that PC makers do this too, because they sell a $250 netbook and a $2500 gaming rig, but both machines have similar connectivity options, similar features, just one is more powerful. They don’t say, “if you want to dim the brightness of the screen to save battery life you’ll need to upgrade from a netbook”. The entire reason Lutron got into making shades was to control artificial light ‘and’ natural light, and offer daylighting solutions to save energy, so it seems hypocritical that they cripple their occupancy sensor for RA2 to not sense ambient light and then promote dimming to save energy with their Meadowlark dimmers for the home.
With much respect, as I do value your input greatly, your response seemed to exhibit the same dismissive and defensive tones that you would expect on the MacRumors forum when being critical of an Apple product, which just adds to my analogy. You said "I really don't rely on much natural light" which dismisses the missing feature as unnecessary to the OP, or that Somfy shades may be allowed in your home but only in your basement, sounds elitist. Often you’d hear dismissive responses from the Apple camp, why would you need an SD card reader on a Mac, or an FM radio on an iPod when it turns out that is what the consumer wants. So then Apple adds those features late in the game and calls them mesmerizing. Similarly, Lutron only had IR control when the entire shading industry had Radio control as a standard, then much later Lutron releases RA2 and touts it as the end-all solution for wireless. I just don’t want a company to decide for me what I want in a product, and it seems Lutron is following Apple’s lead by strategically holding back features.
I think my analogy is accurate and I think it is important to give the consumer options and let them decide. I’d also rather not pay for large advertising costs through the cost of my shades. We can agree to disagree.