Security for Homebuilders: Sell Home Control

Security for Homebuilders: Sell Home Control

Photos courtesy of Honeywell

It’s not about security any more.

When “connected” and “smart” home systems were first marketed by big service providers like ADT and Comcast, home security seemed to be the way into selling home control of lights, thermostats, and other systems.

That concept is now being turned on its head, especially in new home building. “While security is very important, there are multiple ways of getting there, and it’s not always leading with security,” says George Janelis, senior channel manager for the Connected Home at Honeywell Security Products America. “A builder is not interested in selling security, he’s interested in selling homes. And a homebuilder can differentiate itself in the marketplace [by offering ] a level of home control. That’s very appealing to builders.”

A lot of builders are saying they want to provide something standard as a base package to differentiate themselves from the guys down the street.”

Janelis says homebuilders in particular have expressed a lot of interest in Honeywell’s new Tuxedo Gateway Home Controller, which TecHome Builder profiled back in October. The Gateway is a product meant for new home construction, providing a smartphone or tablet connection to wireless Z-Wave-compatible products such as lighting control modules, thermostats, electronic door locks and web-based cameras. There’s no fancy touchscreen like the Tuxedo Touch system—just a blank receiver plate that can be mounted in a closet to send and receive wireless signals. Honeywell says it will be available in the first quarter.

The idea behind both the Tuxedo Touch and Gateway Controller is home control via the expansive Z-Wave universe of hundreds of affordable products and with a possible upgrade to Honeywell’s Vista-based security systems.

So it’s home control first, then security as the upgrade.

“There are capabilities that can take the consumer a pretty long way down the road before going to home automation like Control4, Savant, or Crestron,” says Janelis.

Standard Home Control Packages

For packages of home control, Janelis says builders are talking about thermostats and cameras, while consumers seem more interested in digital locks and lights.

And not all of these systems should be offered as options or upgrades.

“A lot of builders are saying they want to provide something standard as a base package to differentiate themselves from the guys down the street.” That could mean thermostats and cameras or outdoor light control as a base package and then offer the digital door locks and interior light control as upgrades.

“The upgrades will get into motorized shades, digital locks, Z-Wave water shut-off valves,” says Janelis. “But this way they’ve built core control aspects into the home, and then can build off of that.”

For example, with timers built into the outdoor lighting feature using a Z-Wave outlet, users can automate outdoor lights to come on at dusk, or have lights come on when someone rings the doorbell.

“The lights come on and you can see who is at the door if the doorbell rings. And you can expand that to get at locks and internal lights,” says Janelis.

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