Must-Have Tech Trends Setting Homes Apart
The simple fact that technology can make new homes stand apart from the competition drew hundreds of builders to a packed seminar on the “Top 10 Must-Have Technology Trends” at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month.
Home theatre, home health care, automated lighting, security systems and gaming rooms are among the “must have” technologies that builders need to be incorporating into their new homes, said Utz Baldwin, vice president of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association.
Baldwin’s top-10 list includes the following:
- Home Theater/Media Room. This should be situated in a dedicated room, such as a family room, and include “smart” components and controls.
- Home Healthcare Products and Installation. Baldwin noted that a doubling in the number of Americans who are over age 60 by 2030 represents a growing opportunity for builders to provide patient-oriented products. Installing cameras in specific rooms of the home enables aging parents or grandparents to be monitored to ensure that they are safe. Technological healthcare packages can include medication compliance tools through the Web and TV and telemedicine tools to monitor vital signs and communicate with health care professionals. Biometric monitoring devices allow a family member’s vital signs to be tracked on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week.
- Media Center Edition (MCE) Computers. This audio-visual component provides surround-sound processing, one-touch recording of TV shows, Internet radio access, entertainment services, family movies, music and photos.
- Microdisplay-Based Televisions. These state-of-the-art televisions have 1080p screen resolution, which is the highest possible. The televisions can be: LCD (liquid crystal display), DLP (digital light processing), LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) and LCD-based rear projection.
- Lighting and Automation. The latest home lighting systems include universal powerline bus technologies that use existing AC wiring to send signals that control lights and electrical loads from any location inside or outside the home. Other potential applications include appliance control, HVAC control and Internet-to-application device communication.
- Security Systems. New systems can be programmed to record up to two weeks worth of everyday household activities — such as turning on lights and appliances — that can be repeated when nobody is at home to provide the appearance of an occupied house.
- Media Servers. These allow the home owner to store thousands of hours of video and music that can be shared among devices.
- IPod Revolution. Fourteen million IPods were sold in the fourth quarter of 2005 and manufacturers have introduced lines that integrate IPod connectivity into distributed audio systems.
- Music Systems — Multi-Room/Multi-Zone. This technology allows any source to be viewed or listened to in any room, independently of how they are being used in other rooms. For example, using a single receiver, a radio can air in the family room, while the kitchen is tuned in to satellite radio and a DVD plays in the family room.
- Gaming Rooms. These accommodate traditional billiards, card games and pinball, along with increasingly sophisticated electronic games and systems.
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