TLDR: We’ve discontinued our Black Series Lineup, and we’re rebranding everything under the Red Series line and will continue to fully support anyone who has a Black Series Switch or Dimmer. If you’d like to see the reasoning, I’ll outline it further below!
Quick announcement surrounding our Black Series switches. As you may have seen in our latest CEO Update, we have made the decision to discontinue the Black Series lineup. I’d like to first assure everyone that we will continue to support the product and we’ll likely be providing one last firmware update on them prior to focusing on the Red Series line.
We created the Black Series to compete with lesser expensive options (Zooz being the primary), while the Red Series was meant to compete with the higher end market (Lutron, HomeSeer, etc). This strategy has been in place for almost 4 years now. As some of you who have been around for a while may remember, we had a base model Gen 1 switch and a, “scene” version (ie: NZWXX and NZWXX-S). The base version was kept at a lower price, while the scene version was more priced around GE.
NET: The Black Series was created to compete with the lower priced options.
However, a couple things have happened over the years that have caused this decision to be made. Zooz has made it hard to compete in the lower price tier market. They, along with some of the Chinese manufacturers selling directly (Minoston, EvaLogik) have made it difficult to compete on price. I would also personally argue that Zooz has caught up from a technology side of things too as most of the features are now very similar to ours.
This brings me to my next point – the difference between the Red and Black Series is scene control, notifications and energy monitoring. Zooz’s switches have scene control, which actually makes them have a better feature than our Black Series switches. If we were to add scene control to our Black Series switches, that makes it one step closer to being Red Series. It won’t be long before we’re essentially selling a Red Series switch at Black Series prices, which is unsustainable for us unfortunately.
Our Red Series switches far outsell our Black Series ones with the Red Series Dimmer accounting for around 1/3 of our sales. From a brand standpoint, we’ve set out to be the best when it comes to lighting and it’s almost counter-productive to our brand to have a switch that isn’t the best out there (Black Series). So, thinking through the branding lens as well as the fact that the Red Series carries the brand, it made sense to use the money that we would normally be paying for Black Series, and move that towards the Red Series switches so that we stop running out of stock (it also made it an easier decision given that lead times have almost quadrupled on the components).
We appreciate all of you who have a Black Series switch and again, I want to assure you that we will fully support these switches moving forward. We’ll keep some on hand for warranty replacements, and we’ll keep the knowledge-base up to date. As noted above, we will likely have one last firmware file available that we’ll role out for anyone interested.
Happy to answer any questions!