Digging Deep: Breaking Down the SBT Alliance

In this initial series of blog posts – what I’m calling our Digging Deep Series – I wanted to take the opportunity to offer up some more insight to the inner workings, value props, and core foundations of who the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance is, what it is we – and our internal factories Direct Discount Lighting (DDL), Integrated Advanced Controls (IAC), and Glued Solutions (GSI) – do, and explore how, when combined, SBT’s innovative lighting and advanced controls solutions are reshaping the mold of how energy efficiency products and services are delivered to the market and optimized by our end-user clients. Let’s get the show started and dive right into the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance.

Digging Deep: Breaking Down the SBT Alliance

Who is the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance?

In a nutshell, the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance (aka SBT Alliance or SBT) is the industry’s single source for innovative LED lighting and advanced networked controls solutions that are brought to the market in a completely transformative way. How? You ask?

Let’s scratch the surface to find out.

Through its unique combination of three internal factories – Direct Discount Lighting, Integrated Advanced Controls, and Glued Solutions – the SBT Alliance takes the most cutting-edge, industry-leading LED lighting technologies, supercharges them with the industry’s most advanced wireless networked controls systems, and provides turn-key pre-construction/remote/and onsite system provisioning services that are backed by a tiered offering of comprehensive long-term system support and service plans.

Oh, that’s been done before – you say?

Not like this.


So, what makes the SBT Alliance so different from the thousand-and-one other suppliers of LED lighting technologies and advanced control systems? Let’s dig in.

SBT Alliance factories – Direct Discount Lighting, Integrated Advanced Controls, and Glued Solutions – each play a critical role in building the most comprehensive, yet flexible, offering that the industry has yet to experience. However you want to characterize it – soup to nuts… the whole enchilada… from A to Z – SBT Alliance is reforming the mold on how advanced networked control systems are packaged within cutting-edge LED lighting technologies.



Let’s first start with Direct Discount Lighting (aka DDL). Direct Discount Lighting is SBT’s factory that’s exclusively focused on delivering the latest in LED lighting technologies and custom engineered solutions. From commercial office, manufacturing, industrial, and retail solutions, DDL’s product lines cover the gamut of LED lighting applications and all of which are offered at market-leading prices. And if DDL’s standard product line doesn’t fit the bill 100%, DDL’s team of lighting engineers will custom develop a solution to match your specific project requirements to the T. 

That’s great, right, cutting-edge LED lighting technologies offered at market-leading prices, with custom engineering available to create the ideal solution required for your projects – well, let’s take it a step further.


Enter, Integrated Advanced Controls – SBT’s second factory. Taking DDL’s cutting-edge LED lighting solutions, Integrated Advanced Controls raises the bar by supercharging DDL’s product lines with the industry’s most advanced wireless networked controls solutions. Factory-embedded through IAC’s manufacturing facility, SBT’s LED lighting solutions are not only pre-installed with the advanced controls system of your choice, but are also pre-provisioned, pre-commissioned, and completely ready for installation. 

So, what about final system configurations, troubleshooting, and ongoing service and support?


Say hello to Glued Solutions (aka GSI). Having served the industry since 2006, Glued Solutions is the leading wireless controls system provisioning, configuration, and ongoing support specialist and brings SBT’s innovative solutions full circle. Through pioneering advancements in how networked control systems are provisioned, GSI completes the remote configuration of the system and through its tiered ongoing support offerings ensures the system continues to perform at peak performance.


Now, having a more solid understanding of what the Smarter Building Technologies “does” and how we’re remodeling how cutting-edge LED lighting and advanced controls are delivered and supported, let’s take a deeper dive into who we serve and explore how our innovative solutions help each of our channel partners.


Working with our electrical contractor and energy service company partners, the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance aims to help streamline the complexity of designing, specifying, fixture-embedding, provisioning, configuring, and supporting advanced smart lighting systems.

How does the SBT Alliance achieve this and why should you, as an ESCO/electrical contractor, care?

Well, let’s see:

Project Builds: The SBT Alliance works in partnership with our contractor and ESCO clients to assist in developing the best, most innovative solutions that not only provide realistic ROIs for end-user clients, but streamline the entire process of specifying, designing, fixture-embedding, provisioning, configuring, and supporting an advanced controls system project.

Quality, Cutting-Edge Technologies: Through each of SBT’s factories – Direct Discount Lighting, Integrated Advanced Controls, and Glued Solutions – our contractor and ESCO clients are provided with only the latest, highest-quality, luminaire technologies, networking hardware, and system components that the industry has to offer; and without the traditional markup structure.

Full Technical Support: It shouldn’t come as any surprise that today’s advanced networked controls systems are complex, time-consuming to install and configure, and in many cases are kept clear from being spec’d. SBT’s vast experience and streamlined operational flow provide our ESCO and contractor clients the opportunity to expand their portfolio of offerings knowing full well they have the dedicated technical support they need to deliver an advanced controls system on time and under budget. 

Technology Agnostic: One size does not fit all…that easily goes without saying and remains true in the world of advanced networked controls systems. Some are perfect for an application while offering subpar performance in another. This is where SBT’s vast knowledge of multiple wireless networked controls technologies (including, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wifi, Lifi, and more) shines. The more our technicians know the more on-point your project solution will be, resulting in a happier end-user.

Market-leading Pricing Structure: With a direct line of contractor-friendly LED luminaires, custom engineered LED luminaire solutions, and partnerships with the industry’s leading advanced controls systems, the Smarter Building Technology Alliance has built a market-leading pricing structure that provides direct benefits to our channel partners without making our innovative solutions cost prohibitive for end users.


As a fixture agent, one may initially think a partnership with the SBT Alliance would prove to be a mismatch, but you’d be mistaken in that assumption. Bringing together the worlds of advanced LED lighting technologies and the industry’s latest in networked controls, the SBT Alliance and it’s three factories provide opportunities for all members of the channel – including agents and agencies.

Here’s how the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance aims to empower our agent partners:

Portfolio Extension: My utilizing SBT’s factories, Integrated Advanced Controls and Glued Solutions, our agency members have the capability to expand their existing portfolios with an entire suite of fixture-embedded advanced control systems.

Diversified Controls: In line with our agency member’s extension of their portfolio offering, SBT’s diversification of advanced networked controls options helps to more directly cater to end-user needs and project applications. Being siloed into a single technology not only limits creativity, but it can also prove to be fatal to a project if the incorrect controls solution is applied – and an unhappy customer equates to a loss in sales. SBT strives to mitigate this risk through our diversified controls expertise.

Competitive Comp. Structures: Just as with any agency agreement the SBT Alliance has developed a competitive compensation structure to complement existing industry models and meet the needs of our agency members. SBT Alliance continually works in partnership to develop triple-win outcomes; a win for the end-user, a win for the agent, and a win for SBT.

Sales Support: Dealing and pitching the true value of an advanced networked control system isn’t always a walk in the park. This is where the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance works directly with our agent members to assist in the sales process by offering the technical expertise often required to fully convey the value of an advanced networked control system.

Technical Guidance: As with all networked controls solutions, the system support that required for a successful deployment doesn’t simply vanish with the signing of a purchase order. Aiming to take our agency members “off the hook” as it were, the SBT Alliance provides the technical backup required to ensure each project is specified, designed, and deployed successfully.


When it comes to our manufacturer partners the SBT Alliance is keen on bringing value-add to all ends of the channel. With three separate, but complimentary factories, the SBT Alliance provides services that bridge the gap between traditionally siloed players and up-and-coming technology evangelists.

Technology Agnostic: The SBT Alliance is a firm believer in technology agnosticism – Bottom line: one size does not fit all. It is in this belief that the SBT Alliance builds all of our products and services. Because of our agnosticism, we’ll work with any controls or fixture manufacturer, on any solution, as the end goal of the SBT Alliance is to drive the expansion of energy efficiency and smart building technologies to a larger pool of people and businesses.

Pioneering Provisioning & Support: SBT’s Glued Solutions factory has pioneered the streamlined provisioning of advanced networked controls systems since the market inception of wireless networking. It is with this hands-on expertise that we work with each of our manufacturer members with – whether you’re an advanced controls manufacturer or LED fixture manufacturer. Working to enhance the mass adoption of advanced networked lighting and building controls is at the heart of GSI’s innovation in system provisioning, configuration, application development, and ongoing support services.

In-depth Market Knowledge: With decades of industry experience, from all sides of the industry, the SBT Alliance and it’s three factories bring with it a wealth of hands-on experience and market knowledge to our manufacturer members – from information technology, fixture manufacturing, advanced controls development, and more.

Increased Market Expansion/Exposure: The Smarter Building Technologies Alliance aims to assist our manufacturer members in expanding their reach and exposure within the industry. Through SBT factories, Integrated Advanced Controls, and Glued Solutions, our manufacturer members are provided with opportunities to form new industry partnerships with fellow manufacturers (both controls and fixture) that were never thought possible before.

Transferred “Ownership” of Complex Technologies: We’ve all heard it before…you’re the last one to touch it so you “own” it. Well, the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance is working with our manufacturer members to ensure they aren’t left holding the bag on a technology or manufacturing process they know little about. Coupling SBT’s comprehensive industry experience and technological know-how with our manufacturer members’ development and manufacturing expertise establishes a world of opportunities for all parties involved.


I know… I know… thus far we’ve really been focusing our attention on many of the traditional channel players within the lighting and controls market, but that is certainly not to say that a large contingent of the clients we serve include building owners and facility managers – even more so to be honest.

Let’s take a gander at some of the direct benefits SBT brings to our building owner and management members.

Engineered Specifications: SBT factory, Direct Discount Lighting, not only provides our building owner and facility manager members with cutting-edge LED luminaire technologies, DDL’s expert solutions team will custom develop an LED solution that is specifically designed for your particular application. At the end of the day, you simply won’t find many in the industry that 1) have the capability to design, build, and deliver a custom solution or 2) willing to provide it at a market-leading price. Direct Discount Lighting will.

Custom System Application Development: SBT not only provides our building owner and facility manager members with custom LED lighting solutions, but though SBT factory Glued Solutions our end-user members can also craft custom smart building applications that specifically meet their needs. From water sanitation monitoring, icy sidewalk warnings, to more advanced auto dealership notification programs and beyond.

Extended Warranty: This really should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, all SBT products and services are covered under manufacturer and extended warranties. Safeguarding your investment is a serious consideration and the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance has you covered.

Capital Expenditure Reduction: Through most of this post we’ve been talking about SBT’s LED lighting and advanced networked controls solutions, but what does all of these products and services really mean for a building owner or facilities manager? Well, with the right energy efficiency technologies, system programming, and ongoing support, our building owner and facility manager members can (and do) drastically reduce their capital expenditures by reducing wasted energy spend all while tapping into previously unknown revenue streams.

Long-term System Support: Investing in an energy efficiency upgrade is one thing. Ensuring it continues to perform at peak performance over the long haul is quite another. Here is where SBT’s factory, Glued Solutions, helps our building owner and facility manager members the most – long-term system support.


Utilities play a significant role in the mass adoption of energy efficiency technologies and the SBT Alliance is committed to walking in lockstep with this mission and supporting our utility partners. With extensive experience within the energy efficiency space and unparalleled knowledge of advanced networked controls technologies, the SBT Alliance stands ready to enable our utility partners to broaden their current utility rate-payer program scope, ensure advanced controls solutions are deployed to their designed intent, and continue to perform at peak performance long into the future.

Advanced Controls Rebate Program Development: The SBT Alliance has the good fortune and continuing opportunity to have assisted many of the country’s utilities in developing their advanced controls rebate programs. The SBT Alliance continues to provide these consultative services to new utility members at an ever-growing rate.

Lighting and Controls as a Service (LaaS / CaaS): Quickly becoming one of the fastest growing new services within the lighting industry, Lighting-as-a-Service (SaaS), has traditionally been a way to simply pay for an energy efficiency investment. The Smarter Building Technologies Alliance is working with our utility members to expand on this and build out a far more comprehensive LaaS and Controls-as-a-Service (CaaS) solution that utilities can provide to and through their rate-payer incentive programs.

Control System Operational Verification: SBT Alliance works with each of our utility members to ensure that the proper advanced networked controls system verification procedures and measures are in place to certify rebate program incentives.

Control System Agnostic: One size does not fit all…and nowhere is this truer than in the world of advanced networked controls. Working with our utility members the SBT Alliance shares its wealth of controls technology knowledge – whether it’s Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wifi, Lifi, or some other technology – to provide the technical backup required to implement a first-rate advanced controls utility rebate program.

Contractor & End User Training and System Support: Contractor and end-user training is the key difference between a successful and disastrous advanced controls utility rebate program. SBT and its member factories – Direct Discount Lighting, Integrated Advanced Controls, and Glued Solutions – work with our utility members to craft meaningful training and certification programs for end-users and installing contractors.


It’s my hope that through this Digging Deep series you now have a more in-depth understanding of the Smarter Building Technologies Alliance, including our innovative go-to-market strategy, the channels we service, and how we plan to refashion the antiquated mold of how energy efficiency products and services are delivered to the market and optimized by end-user clients.

In short: The SBT Alliance is bringing the hundred-plus-year-old light bulb into the 21st Century in a new and exciting way.


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