Lutron acquires energy-saving product


In parking garages, Limelight maximizes energy savings, streamlines maintenance costs, enhances safety and reduces the total cost of ownership. Courtesy Twisthink

TwistHDM, the product development arm of Holland-based tech consultant Twisthink, recently hit a milestone when Lutron Electronics acquired its first product, Limelight, an internet of things lighting system that Twisthink’s team of engineers, designers and strategists had been developing for over a decade.

Limelight is used in outdoor and industrial applications to maximize energy savings, streamline maintenance costs, enhance safety and reduce the total cost of ownership.

“Acquiring the Limelight system offers the potential for an even wider range of IoT solutions,” said Scott Hanna, senior vice president of Lutron. “With this new asset, we look forward to what we can do to fulfill our number one principle: take care of our customers with superior goods and services.”

Twisthink has been helping clients “innovate, accelerate and grow” for nearly two decades, said owner and managing partner Bob Niemiec.

“Principally, we’re helping them use a process called human-centered design, and we’re linking that process to technology so they’re better equipped and more capable at integrating technology solutions into their product or their service portfolio,” Niemiec said.

From this model arose TwistHDM in 2008, which was Twisthink’s first instance of practicing what it preached, Niemiec said. Located in Zeeland, the sister company is strictly in the business of producing the type of innovative products that Twisthink consults other companies to produce.

“I think it’s a great compliment to this team and what we created a decade ago now being valued and appreciated by a company that globally is known as the best of the best, and Lutron is that company,” Niemiec said.

Limelight will integrate data into Lutron’s existing data and management platform, Enterprise Vue, enabling Lutron clients to manage both interior and exterior facilities from one unified dashboard.

Niemiec said Limelight systems are present in Ellis and city-owned parking garages in Grand Rapids.

“The lights can go to a dim state or an off state, so the city of Grand Rapids is saving energy,” Niemiec said. “If a light fails or is broken, somebody at the city is getting an email alert … you don’t have guys driving around looking to repair lights.”

Limelight responds in a more dynamic way by brightening or dimming lights in response to human movement, therefore creating a safer environment in a parking garage while saving energy.

Limelight also is present in flat parking lots, warehouses, exhibit halls, convention centers, airports and several of Holland’s community parks.

Niemiec added Twisthink’s own decadelong journey to innovate, accelerate and grow means the company can empathize with clients as they attempt to do the same.

“We know how hard it is. Look at what we just went through as a team, as a business, for a decade,” he said. “It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you lean into it, and you stick with it and you don’t give up, good things are going to happen.”

“Innovating is all about taking risk,” Niemiec said. “Can we reliably control lights in a parking garage and make that environment safer than what it has been in the past? Will our technology deliver the energy savings that we’re projecting on paper? Will somebody else try to take our technology and copy it?”

Without disclosing project specifics, Niemiec said there is more in the works for TwistHDM. Even though the company hooked Lutron as a customer, Niemiec intends to increase the pace at which TwistHDM generates new products and services.

“This megatrend of IoT is not just an opportunity for our firm but for countless firms to get into the technology domain, innovate, take a little bit of risk and then grow faster and win,” he said.

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