Tech Updates

Harness the Potential of Technology in the Homebuilding Process

6 Mins read

Homebuilders aren’t sted in offering technology integration as part of their business model are now firmly in the minority. This point is proven by research from the CEA’s aCEA’s “State “f the Builder Study,” which” was compiled in conjunction with the NAHB Research Center. It states that 85 percent of builders believe technology is important in marketing a new home. These technoltechnology’sations are extremely compelling to homebuyers: entertainment, whole-home control, security, and more that can come with their new house, instead of them hunting for it on the aftermarket. In these extremely competitive times, the time is now to embrace technology (if you haven’thaven’ty). And thanks to some retrofit technology, that’s why it was effective yesterday! Allow me to elaborate.

Structured wiring and powerline

Wherever possible, structured wiring is a must for the 21st-century home, bundling all of the home’s domestications wiring into one coherent system. These bundles can include wiring for home networking, telephone, video, audio, alarms, infrared remote control, and more. Running these wires before the walls are closed is more cost-effective and less disruptive than ripping up walls to do so later. These bundles also serve as a Trojan horse, allowing builders to approach the homebuyer with new technological offerings as they become process available.


Structured wiring has some inherent advantages compared to more slapdash wiring installations. With all of the cables running back to a central wiring panel, it’s it’s changes how and what each line is connected to and used for. Structured wiring also troubleshoots snap since each cable can be isolated and tested for problems. Furthermore, because all the wires process back to the central wiring panel, they can all be connected to the same source without needing some outlets to pass through more splitters and splices than others. This greatly improves the consistency of signals.


Structured wiring isn’t aisn’t fit for every builder or situation. With that in mind, here’s here’sreat news. If you’re you’relling to commit to structured wiring, a new option that leverages the electrical wiring in a home to transmit audio, data, and more is on the horizon. This technology will allow you to retrofit your existing housing inventory process reasonably and with minimal disruption to add a fresh twist for wooing homebuyers. The system will also provide an alternative way to offer some technology to homebuyers if you aren’t aren’tvesting in full-blown structured wiring for new builds. A multi-room audio system process using this technology will be available later this year, with other solutions sure to follow. The first feasible multi-room audio system using powerline technology will be available later this year, with different solutions sure to follow. You now have the inside scoop if you hear the name Renova shortly.

Explore Quick and Easy Demos

Demonstrating technology, particularly architectural consumer electronics like multi-room audio, has long been a thorny issue for home builders. A prominent objection is expense. So consider this inexpensive trick to introduce the multi-room audio concept into your model home at a fraction of the cost of installing a full-fledged multi-room audio system. It starts by utilizing the consumeconsumer’ss own music with an appliance they know and understands, the iPod.

Today’sToday’sroom audio is a more compelling new-home option than ever because it ties directly into the exploding concept of “My Mus”c” among”consumers. The advent of portable music players like the iPod has enabled music collections to go virtually anywhere their owners go. Many home buyers would welcome “My Mus”c” extension to an”entire home. You can entice home buyers by showing how uncomplicated, powerful, and fun a multi-room audio system can be by providing a simple music demonstration. Install an amplified source input and connect it to an iPod dock and in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Set up a location where an on-wall audio control pad would go.

You don’t ndon’to install a live control pad, just a blank plate covered with a transparent graphic that shows what a control interface would look like. Install this demo in the most public spots in the home-the kitchen process. Allow the home buyer to instantly plug their iPod into the dock and hear the music over the speakers. The demo will show the home buyer how easy it would be to hear “My Mus”c” over “he home’s home’ssystem. It will make an immediate “I want”that” impac” on the home buyer: “Here’s”Here’sing that will make life in this house simpler and richer.” This “nique selling approach is highly affordable. Roughly speaking, a pair of speakers run $200, an iPod dock runs $49, and an amplified in-wall local source runs $125. Add a nominal speaker wire and installation cost, and you’ve you’veslick demo that doesn’tdoesn’tthe bank.

Find Your Digital Path

Believing technology is important to the process, as the CEA-NAHB above study found, doesn’tdoesn’tt easy. The complexity of choosing and installing home technology systems and products has always been the biggest hurdle for homebuilders, and it remains so. Low-voltage integration of consumer electronics products requires specialized skills, especially when dealing with proprietary technology process platforms, rapidly changing technologies and user preferences, and the unique programming and configuration models many systems employ. Acquiring these skills by partnering with a local electronic systems contractor (ESC) or hiring your talent can be expensive and time-consuming. The builder wants it to be profitable.

The slowdown allows us to reconsider, reflect and reboot what we do and how we do it. The time for the builder to consider this: What kind of technology offerings do my potential home buyers want? Once you definitively answer that question, you can build a new, updated strategy from their process before making any investments that may or may not be as focused and efficient as they should be.

Homebuyers in 2009 were far more sophisticated about technology than five years ago. Smartphones, multi-room entertainment systems, networked PCs, HDTVs, iPod docks, GPS systems, and powerful universal remotes, among other products and concepts, have changed how homeowners and homebuyers view technology. It’s noIt’sger considered a convenience or a luxury to be “connec”ed.” It’s “oIt’slifestyle necessity. It’s soIt’sing people expect to process, and it’s soit’sing that can and should be profitable for homebuilders.

Identify what homebuyers care most about. Is it security, entertainment, energy management, or convenience? A newly married twenty-something couple will probably get more excited about streaming music from their iPods all over the house. Simultaneously, a five-person family might want a dedicated home theater for movie nights and the ability to monitor security cameras from any TV. Get a good sense of your target demogrademographic’s and explore and build your technology process strategy and options from there.

In-House or Partnerships?

One way larger builders are adding technology integration services is by hiring ESCs. These professionals often are members of the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), the leading trade association for ESCs, which provides training, certification, and education. CEDIA and the CEA offer a wealth of educational information for builders, including best practices for installing technology.

Ideally, every builder would employ one or more in-house ESCs who could control the customer experience and installation process. Unfortunately, not every home builder has the resources to expand this way, so long-term partnerships with reputable ESCs are the next best option. The worst nightmare for a builder is to hire an unfamiliar “tech g”y” at th” homeownhomeowner’st who comes in, does the electronics and wiring installation, collects his check, and is never heard from again. The builder is often left holding the bag but, unfortunately, is not equipped to troubleshoot any A/V or electronics systems issues. Homeowners don’t wdon’to hear this, however.

Before working with any independent ESC, demand that the ESC be responsible for all follow-up service calls. The builder must be confident that the ESC will provide support over the long haul; if not, the installation should not proceed. By building a strong partnership with an ESC, the builder will gain a loyal and trusted A/V specialist on call who can provide punctual, effective service rather than always scrambling at the last second to find someone to consult or, even worse, leaving it in the homeownhomeowner’s Fortunately, the collaboration between CEDIA, CEA, and NAHB is at an all-time high. Each trade group provides resources for pairing up homebuilders with ESCs on a local process level.

Early project involvement allows the ESC to plan progressively with the builder and the other trades to avoid costly and unnecessary changes to wiring, closet/outlet placement, and other things that can affect electronics installation and performance. Regardless of whether services are contracted or offered in-house, it’s wiit’sor builders to understand “good, “etter, best” techn”logy solutions for their customers. By offering coherent and appealing electronics packages, you can better keep on time and budget process. Avoid customization in all but enormous luxury homes, where the price is secondary to the homebuyer and the sky limit.

Whether through in-house staff or a partnership with an independent ESC, home builders must find the technology models that work best financially and logistically. Ignoring technology is no longer an option when dealing with today’stoday’syers. Fortunately, those of us in the electronics industry are willing and able to help builders get where they need to go. We’re rWe’reand eager to do great work for you both in your upcoming projects and to help you sell your existing inventory.

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