Add Bells, Whistles to Standing Inventory, Without High Costs
By Walt Zerbe, Russound
Just as auto dealers are now offering expanded features and other benefits in order to sell their excess inventory in a down market, builders can now offer multi-room audio and communication systems to any low-tech standing inventory in order to boost sales — without the high cost of retrofitting the expensive high-tech upgrade.
Until now, one of the biggest and costliest issues with retrofitting a home with a multi-room audio and communication system has been installing the long wires needed, which typically run from a single point, like the family room, to all the other rooms in a home.
However, with new power line carrier (PLC) technology, builders can create a multi-room audio system that uses a home’s standard AC electrical wiring — at a fraction of the cost of rewiring a home and in a fraction of the time.
With PLC technology, builders can tap into a home’s standard AC wiring to send music, data and other digital information over a home’s standard AC wiring, as well as add security options, audio, video, broadband and more to attract today’s tech-savvy buyer.
In addition, PLC technology presents new options in scalability and entry pricing for builders considering offering multi-room audio in the future. While pre-wiring a home in order to incorporate potential technology upgrades during pre-construction and remodels has its advantages, PLC technology opens a new window of opportunity in post construction models, inventory and existing homes without having to cut into or remove walls and fish for wires.
Internet protocol-based systems that utilize power line carrier technology, the basis for PLC technology, have established a new benchmark for how audio, closed circuit television and intercom communication can be distributed throughout the home.
Home owners can now enjoy complete multi-room access to digital audio entertainment, CD players, an intercom system and color security cameras from any room in the house while bypassing the need for a centralized controller. Builders can enjoy additional cost savings and flexibility when retrofitting standing inventory because amplified keypads and system sources can be placed anywhere in a home where AC power has been run.
The decentralized nature of these systems provides additional benefits, as well. Not only can sources and control points be placed anywhere in a home, they may even be moved at the user's whim. Home owners can move baby cameras and monitoring devices or personal music player docks when their circumstances change or to make placement more convenient.
This kind of flexibility is nearly impossible with a wired system and gives builders with standing inventory another strong selling point.
In addition, there is no longer the need to have a central “black box” taking up space in the entertainment center.
So for builders looking to move standing inventory by adding high-tech solutions to increase their homes’ appeal, they can now add technology features at a fraction of the cost.
A builder or installer can now retrofit a home with two zones of a PLC-based system in half a day and include such features as baby monitoring, closed circuit television, Internet radio, a personal music player and more to make that home salable.
No matter how many sources are integrated, the interface remains easy to master and maintain. By offering demonstrable value-added benefits from PLC technology-based media and communication systems, builders have a new and less expensive tool to move inventory in today’s market, as well as when the housing market returns.
Walt Zerbe is a product manager at Russound, a Newmarket, N.H.-based designer and manufacturer of custom multi-room audio-video systems and accessories. Zerbe has more than 20 years experience in all aspects of the custom installed audio industry and serves as the co-chairman of the R10 Residential Systems Standards Body and co-chairman of the Multi-Room Audio Video Council (MRAV) of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). For more information, visit the Russound Web site at www.russound.com.