New Home Technologies Require Trained Installers
New and emerging applications for home automation spanning everything from theaters and electronic gaming to security and home health care are expected to become a $9.6 billion business this year.
While many builders use electricians to install these increasingly sophisticated systems, electricians, in general, are not trained to install and configure them.
Along with these emerging technologies is a growing need for well-trained and knowledgeable electronic systems contractors (ESCs) to install, configure and integrate them.
ESCs have specialized skills — including computer programming, systems interfacing, acoustical expertise and video calibration — and undergo continuing specialized training.
Their expertise should not be confused with electricians who have different responsibilities, skills and knowledge.
The Differences Between ESCs and Electricians:
- ESCs work with voltages less than 100 volts; electricians work with voltages greater than 100.
- ESCs deliver signals and data; electricians delivers power.
- ESCs install and configure home automation controls, touch-screens, keypads and computers; electricians install and configure switches, dimmers and breakers.
- ESCs work with analog and digital circuits; electricians only work with analog circuits.
- ESCs use cabling for multiple applications; electrician use cabling for single applications.
- ESCs require constant education and training; electricians require little continuing education.
- ESCs do not need licenses in most states; electricians must be licensed in most states.
- ESCs potentially have a large impact on the security of consumers’ personal information; electricians have little impact on consumers’ personal information.
As high-tech, custom electronic systems — including security and surveillance, HVAC, lighting, pool, a spa and sprinklers, home entertainment, communications and other sub-systems — have become more important to home owners, operating these systems has become more challenging. ESCs can provide a simple-to-use, single point of control, an increasingly important and desirable feature for home owners.
While most homes are wired for only basic services like electricity, telephone and cable TV, the wiring is not enough to take advantage of the new technologies such as interactive TV, digital television and video-on-demand.
ESCs can install the structured wiring needed to connect all the rooms in a home to a central location in order to make these new technologies a part of the home owners' lifestyle.
For more information on home technology in home building and remodeling, e-mail Germaine Palangdao at NAHB, call her at 800-368-5242 x8498, or visit the Home Technology Alliance at www.nahb.org/hta.
CEDIA: A Source for Experienced ESCs
The Home Technology Alliance (HTA), a partnership between NAHB and the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association (CEDIA), was created to meet the growing consumer demand for home technology.
CEDIA, a founding sponsor, is 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.
For more information on CEDIA, visit the association’s Web site at www.cedia.org. To find an ESC, click here.