Summer is the perfect time to market outdoor tech, and understanding emerging trends in the outdoor lighting market can help builders gain appeal among buyers looking to socialize outside.
Remote Technologies Incorporated (RTI), a national integrator specializing in home technology, highlights some outdoor tech trends you should keep an eye on.
“One example is outdoor kitchens that have become very popular, which has led to a market of related products,” says Brett Stokke of RTI. He’s referring to the outdoor kitchen market, which was once viewed as a luxury add-on but has now become part of a unique standard in sunny regions.
It is crucial and lucrative for high-volume builders to enter these growing sectors before outdoor tech becomes every builder’s standard.
Outdoor Lighting Lessons
The appeal of outdoor lighting comes down to two main concepts: energy efficiency, aesthetics and security.
For example, LEDs offer multiple benefits—conservative energy usage, multi-colored options, an abundance of lighting options.
“Now with the availability of LED solutions, consumers can enjoy all of these benefits [of traditional lighting], without the energy costs associated with leaving high wattage lights on overnight,” says Stokke.
And choosing the right type of smart lights is only the first step in gaining appeal. Builders and integrators also need to understand the importance of proper placement.
According to the 2014 Houzz Spring Landscaping Trends Study, most homebuyers are adding smart lighting to decks, patios, trees and to the sides of outdoor paths. This not only offers curb appeal but also security.
Stokke says more homebuyers are requesting that RTI integrators tie together outdoor lighting options with the home’s platform and interior smart lights. Production builders that market control options with automation and smart lighting can count on increased appeal among tech-minded Millennials interested in entertaining and socializing outside.
Outdoor Entertainment Trends
“Also, there is a lot of buzz surrounding home automation, and it is natural that consumers would look to extend this to their outdoor areas,” says Stokke.
Blending smart lights with home automation can help you meet multiple expectations. For example, if your clients are more interested in the safety aspect of smart lights, you should include simple, white LEDs. If your client is more interested in outdoor entertainment, you should consider including a range of color-changing lights in the backyard.
Advice for HiVol Builders Entering Outdoor Market
Finally, the biggest piece of advice from Stokke to builders looking to tap into this emerging market is to only include weatherproof tech options.
Weather-resistant outdoor tech may seem like a no-brainer, but some builders and integrators may feel skeptical about shelling out extra cash on a precautionary measure. Stokke says that while it may cost extra initially, investing in quality outdoor tech can help you prevent future maintenance costs.
“There may be a higher cost associated with these more durable products, but attempting to use gear that is not designed for outdoor use may result in failure,” says Stokke.
One option that RTI regularly includes in outdoor areas is the WK2 Water-Resistant In-Wall Keypad. Keypads like this are a safe bet for builders looking to offer outdoor tech in wet or weather-prone areas such as pools and theaters.
Weather-resistant tech, energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing and security-focused outdoor lighting and home control can be combined to help builders offer a more appealing, entertaining smart home. “This is helping create even more buzz as more consumers seek out the convenience, safety, aesthetics and fun provided by outdoor entertainment and lighting,” says Stokke.
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