In the early ‘90s, a smart home meant integrating accessible outlets, television satellites and staying on top of the rise of the Internet. As you can imagine, much has changed since then.
For Shawn Evenhaim, CEO of California Home Builders, the ‘90s signifies the initial dawn of smart home systems with technology such as cameras, wiring and distribution centers coming into the home.
Evenhaim has followed the rise of the TecHome, since this era, as it has moved from wired to wireless, desktop computers to laptops and especially landlines to cell phones to smart phones. Those phones are now used to custom control the smart home systems that Evenhaim offers as standard in all of his luxury homes.
“The reason is because since the ‘90s I’ve been looking for it, and unfortunately the only systems you could find were very tough to integrate or so expensive,” says Evenhaim.
First Fully-Inclusive TecHome
In his eyes, these smart home systems can still be quite complicated. Evenhaim notes that if he built his own home again, he would never use a system as convoluted as the Crestron system he currently has installed. He says from an operations and expenses standpoint, it just doesn’t make any sense.
“Systems today can give you the same for less, and they’re easier,” says Evenhaim.
Over the course of the new millennium, and especially the past decade, Evenhaim has seen these systems evolve fairly extensively. California Home Builders has come a long way since constructing its first, fully-inclusive TecHome system for a high-end home back in 2007.
“We put in everything from smart home controls, lighting controls, anything you can imagine,” says Evenhaim. “Unfortunately, we still had to use a lot of wiring because the Wi-Fi was in, but it was not as good as it is today.”
For this home, California Home Builders needed to wire miles worth of cable throughout the house, and the systems they had in place were extremely expensive.
“Nothing was as smart as what we are seeing today,” says Evenhaim.
What Are We Seeing Today?
Evenhaim believes that two major factors have driven the TecHome from its shaky past to fruitful present and promising future—the rise of Wi-Fi and the increasing intelligence of cell phones.
Internet has expanded exponentially since the ‘90s, and even the early millennium, where everyone in the home had a desktop computer and hardwired Internet jack connection.
“Today, it’s all laptops and Wi-Fi,” says Evenhaim. “The wiring doesn’t mean much anymore.”
As for the shift from cell phones to smart phones, this was extremely crucial to the TecHome evolution.
“When we sell a home today, you can open your front door; you can open your garage; you can see your cameras; you can control your lights; you can control the air conditioning; you can do all these things with your iPhone,” says Evenhaim.
Where Are We Going?
The TecHome has indubitably developed into something that demands attention. Over the course of the next few years, onwards to 2020, Evenhaim predicts even more growth. He believes the industry will see more mergers and acquisitions. Major companies like Amazon, Google and Apple will all be trying to get their systems into the homes as much as they can.
As we move further into the future, Evenhaim extends two pieces of advice to builders using technology, whether they are new to the game or long term players.
For one, builders should always do business with integrators and manufacturers who are reliable and have showcased formidable experience in their respective technological endeavors.
Secondly, Evenhaim stresses California Home Builders’ model of offering smart home systems as standard.
“I don’t think smart home systems should be an option,” says Evenhaim. “It’s almost like saying, ‘I’m going to do structured wiring in the house, but I’m not going to give you any light fixtures or a refrigerator.’”
He states his company consists of builders who don’t believe in options, but rather all-inclusive packages. And if more builders begin thinking with this mindset, Evenhaim predicts it could potentially change the game.
“I highly recommend that people start doing the basic things like smart locks, lighting, cameras and air conditioning as standard in the house,” says Evenhaim. “If everyone starts building with these as standard, the systems will eventually become cheaper.”
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