The Smart Home Building Revolution is Here

The Smart Home Building Revolution is Here

The gang at TecHome Builder is excited to be in Austin, Texas this week for our inaugural TecHome Builder Summit, where over 35 home technology vendors will showcase compelling new home systems for an audience of elite homebuilders.

The technologies range from connected home and home automation systems to energy-efficient appliances, energy-monitoring systems, security systems, motorized window treatments, solar-powered systems, HVAC and healthy-home ventilation and humidity-sensing.

Put it all together and what do you have? Smart home systems that allow homeowners to check in on their homes remotely, conveniently set climate and lighting levels, save energy and stay healthy. These systems are in demand today, and homebuilders that offer them will have a huge competitive advantage.

This week’s newsletter, as well as 3 Hot Solar Solutions for Homebuilders and Healthy Home Tech to Shine from last week, provide a peek at all the hot technologies showing this week at the Summit.

From the Everyday to the Entertaining


Homebuilders who join the smart home revolution don't have to opt for all-out home automation or fancy home theater systems. Some of the coolest “smart home” products, I think, are often considered mundane, like the two- and four-port USB charging wall outlets offered by Eaton’s Cooper Wiring Devices, and Panamax’ in-wall surge protection outlet. These are practical and useful devices that may not make a home “smart” themselves, but are super-smart for savvy homebuilders to include in their offerings.

Want entertainment? No problem. Core Brands will show Niles’ Cynema Soundfield in-wall soundbar that’s a useful and design-friendly way to get three speakers in a surround-sound system in one unit without interfering with room design elements. It also installs without the need to cut studs. You know someone in a homebuying family wants a good surround-sound entertainment system, and someone else doesn't want speakers on stands or shelves.

Homebuilders can tie all the systems together with another Core Brands product: the highly regarded Elan g! Home Automation System and Elan lighting. Elan systems have been gaining a lot of traction—and not just in upper-end custom homes but in production homes as well. Taylor Morrison and other large homebuilders are offering Elan systems in some of their communities. “ELAN g! is a scalable platform starting at under $1,000 MSRP for an entry-level system, although the perceived value to the homeowner will immediately be much higher,” says Core Brands’ Bill Hensley. “With the breadth and scale of the Core Brands product lines

we can easily scale systems to meet the needs of the custom homebuilder.”

Innovative Builder Program

Whole-house and entertainment systems are also offered by GE Home & Security Technologies, a new builder program that can include structured wiring, security, central vacuum as well as Bose or Klipsch speakers for surround-sound or whole-house music systems.

It’s one of the more interesting builder programs to come along in a while, and it's bound to be a hot topic at the TecHome Builder Summit.

Several well-known home technology brands and a nationwide dealer network fuel the National Builder Program. Legrand, H-P products, Linear, Kwikset, Bose and others make up the partner list. GE Home & Security Technologies is managed by the Authorized Integrators Network (AiN), comprised of more than 150 home technology dealers nationwide

GE Home & Security Technologies reps will discuss with builders ways they can generate profits from national and regional home technologies packages. The packages will range from basic structured wiring and security to high-end home automation and entertainment systems.

“Consumers are asking about home technology, and we’re giving national and large regional builders the opportunity to deal with one network [to provide those technologies],” says AiN Group executive vice president Larry Wright.

The Builder Program will initially enable installations of Bose (speakers), Klipsch (speakers), Legrand (OnQ structured wiring, multiroom audio, communications), Interlogix (security), Dirt Devil (central vacuum), Kwikset (digital door locks) and Linear security products like cameras.

Packages of structured wiring and security, along with step-up good-better-best options of central vacuum, whole-house audio and surround-sound will be offered. The packages can be as robust or as simple as builders want, and for starter homes to million-dollar homes, explains AiN Group executive vice president of business development Todd Girdis. The packages can also be scaled down to regional levels, with structured wiring and security packages up to whole-house audio for 1,200-square-foot, or 4,000-square-foot homes, says Girdis.

GE Home & Security Technologies is also working with partner companies like to provide products for model homes, with systems that can be customized to the homebuilder’s needs.

AiN believes its National Builder Program will reduce builders’ fear of home technologies by simplifying the process. “Some builders have been offering 20 different structured wiring systems, and 10 different ways to do audio,” says Wright. “There are operational costs to a national builder if they have six different phone jacks or six different whole-house audio systems instead of one.”

GE Home and Security Technologies uses branded GE Security products spun off from General Electric.

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