iRule, a popular purveyor of cloud-based home-automation for DIYs and pros, has been acquired by Kramer Electronics, a giant provider of audio/video systems for commercial applications.
“We now have 25 offices around the world to help us sell products,” says iRule founder and CEO Itai Ben-Gal in an interview with CE Pro, CI‘s sister site.
The two companies have worked together since early 2015, when Kramer used iRule software as the basis of its first comprehensive control system called K-Touch.
Previously, commercial A/V pros had to rely on third-party control systems like Crestron or AMX to integrate Kramer products. They can still do that, of course, but they can also use Kramer’s home-grown K-Touch platform.
For its part, iRule had focused on the DIY home-automation market for most of its seven-year existence, selling basic A/V control software for as little as $50. By 2013, however, the company started investing heavily in the pro-installation channel, adding integration drivers for pro-centric subsystems.
Hear from iRule’s Itai Bengal who worked with Kramer on the development of Kramer Control:
That year, iRule acquired On Controls, a company that was enhancing the iRule platform for the installer channel.
But iRule seemed to find its greatest success in commercial venues like sports bars and Best Buy’s Magnolia, where iRule’s flexible and robust software was selected to run A/V demos at the stores.
When Kramer demonstrated iRule-based solutions at Infocomm 2016, “they took home five ‘best-of’ awards,” Ben-Gal says.
Kramer’s investment in iRule “became more strategic” over the past two years, so it made sense for Kramer to buy out other iRule investors.
“We get to do more of what we want to do,” Ben-Gal says. “Sometimes you can get more done with fewer voices.”
He says iRule and On Controls are not abandoning the residential market per se, “but we are continuing a trajectory that has us more focused on commercial.”