Week of April 28, 2008
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Buyers Want Technology, Let Them See It in Model Homes
By Andrea Reiner, InnerSpace Electronics, Inc.

Consumers want and expect new technology in their homes so that they can add convenience and security to their lives, according to a recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). They just don’t know what’s available.

Consumer demand for everything from faster Internet connections and monitored home security systems to flat screen TVs, iPods and other electronic devises has helped increase the consumer electronics market from $149 billion in 2006 to an expected $171 billion this year.

To help potential home buyers better understand the technology options available to them, builders need to feature technological enhancements — the electronic amenities that will help turn a house into a home — prominently in their models where buyers will notice them.

What Builders Are Installing

According to the CEA’s sixth annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study, a supplement to NAHB’s Annual Builder Practices Survey, the top six technologies builders are installing include structured wiring, monitored security, multi-room audio, home theater, automated lighting controls and home automation.

Many builders believe that home technologies make a significant difference in the marketing of their new homes, according to the study. About one-third of the builders reported that technology in the home helped them increase their revenue.

Technology Benefits to Buyers

Builders also need to promote the benefits these and other high-tech products bring to their home buyers. The primary benefits include control, savings, value, comfort and flexibility.

  • Control ― Using smart automation technology helps provide home owners with control of everything from lighting and heating to audio and video systems.

  • Savings — Automating lights, thermostats, sprinklers and other household functions minimize waste and translate into long-term costs savings on energy bills.

  • Value — Homes enhanced with technology generally are more attractive to buyers and hold their value better than less-equipped homes.

  • Comfort — Automation helps make leisure time and entertaining more enjoyable by enabling home owners to control lighting, music and temperature with the touch of a button.

  • Flexibility — Structured wiring makes it easier and more cost-effective to add lighting control, a more advanced computer network, a higher-end audio system and other technologies.

Technology Is Ever-Changing

Like the times, technology is changing at a rapid pace. What was cutting-edge last year may not even be on the radar screen today.

Keeping pace with technology can be a challenge for builders. Technology is ever-changing.

Fortunately, builders don’t have to be technological experts to integrate the latest innovations into their homes. The key is to create close relationships with electronic systems contractors (ESCs).

These professionals have the latest information in their field, and they are familiar with the building industry. They can effectively advise builders on the newest technology trends and how they can be implemented to benefit their customers. 

The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) — a partner with NAHB in the Home Technology Alliance (HTA) initiative to provide industry professionals a resource on electronic integration and home technology products and services ― has an online Finder Service at www.cedia.org to help builders and home owners locate a certified ESC partner.

Andrea Reiner is an owner and co-founder of InnerSpace Electronics, Inc., a custom integration company for high-end clients based  in Port Chester, N.Y. IEI designs and installs home theater, multi-room audio/video, lighting control, home automation, automated window treatments, acoustical design, soundproofing, telephone/intercom systems, computer networks and boardrooms. For more information, visit the IEI Web site at www.innerspaceelectronics.com.

Information About Home Technology Available From HTA

The Home Technology Alliance (HTA) is a partnership between NAHB and the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association (CEDIA) that was formed to position the housing industry to effectively meet the growing home buyer demand for home technology and provide maximum return on investment in the new home building and remodeling process.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/HTA.  

CEDIA: A Source for Experienced ESCs

The Custom Electronic Design Installation Association (CEDIA) is a founding sponsor in the Home Technology Alliance and an international trade association of companies that specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for the home.

CEDIA members are established and insured businesses with bona fide qualifications and experience in this field. CEDIA serves as a source for Electronic Systems Contractors (ESCs).

For more information on CEDIA, visit the association’s Web site at www.cedia.org. To find an ESC, click here.

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