Focus Groups for Home Automation?

Focus Groups for Home Automation?

ClareHome by Clare Controls

Homebuilders such as Kirk Chittick, vice president of sales, marketing and product development at Renasci Development, are realizing that installing home automation at some level is going to be what makes them stand out.

“It is our goal to develop unique properties,” says Chittick. This means finding a niche in the market.

While Renasci has already decided that the company will offer home automation, the next step is to figure out how much and what kind. How do you decide? Integrators have everything from introductory offerings to complete packages. The real question is, what do homebuyers want?

Renasci’s initial findings identify safety and energy management as the two most important home automation features for homeowners. Lighting is another biggie. Based on these findings, Renasci may offer a basic package with add-on options. The company will do its due diligence first, of course.

Renasci plans on using focus groups to figure out if these three elements are, in fact, what matters most to people. It is also important to determine if these features are easy to use.

Kirk Chittick of Renasci Development. Photo by Steven Hacker

At the TecHome Builder Summit, vendors told Chittick that the home automation retention rate for many builders is 50 percent. If a system is set up right and the homeowners understand how it works, however, 97 percent continue to use the system, especially the lighting features.


“There’s a big advantage to being able to program it from a device that you’re using every day, that you’re already familiar with,” says Chittick.

That familiarity is a huge selling point. Chittick was impressed by Clare Controls iPad iOS interface for its home automation system. Builders can demonstrate systems like this with technology people use every day in model homes.

As with anything, builders will face challenges in implementing home automation. They must meet financial expectations and construction deadlines in deciding what features they can offer and at what cost. 


About The Author

Kelly Mello is a TecHome Builder Staff Writer, creating timely, investigative articles for its eMagazine and Special Reports. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English: Communications & Rhetoric. She began her writing career in 2007 as editorial assistant for GateHouse Media. From 2010 to 2013, she was local editor for various Patch sites, including

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