One of the biggest challenges in the home automation industries is selling the technology to builders. While demand has grown consistently with homeowners over the last 10 years, builders see automation technology as an additional expense and sometimes a headache. But in the past couple of years this has started to change as companies such as Crestron and Control4 reach out to builders in an effort to educate them on the income possibilities of their products.
It Starts with Education
During the last building boom from 2002 to 2007 there was a small increase in the number of spec home builders that started implementing automation products into their projects. At the time even many of the lower priced options in this category were too much for builders to swallow.
However this was only one of the reasons that builders didn’t begin installing better technology into their homes. Part of it was a lack of understanding from the homeowners. During this times home automation was still in it’s infancy. And from a builder’s perspective, if you’re clients aren’t asking for it, why would you include it in the home anyway?
The same thing occurred with audio products as they became more popular. Now you rarely see a house that doesn’t come pre-wired for surround sound and whole house audio.
The last 6 or 7 years have dramatically changed this. The number of homeowners requiring that their home have the latest and greatest in automation and energy efficiency technologies has increased dramatically. Builders are hearing this, and have begun to create packages for their spec homes that include better wiring packages and even complete automation systems.
As with most things technology related, prices on home automation products continue to fall. In the early 2000’s it was difficult to have an automation system installed for less than $50,000. But now homeowners can get everything including lighting control, climate control, energy management, and audio video for under $25,000. This is still a significant amount of money, but the price tag has dropped by half in the last 15 years, all while the capabilities of these systems have dramatically increased.
Builder programs like those from Control4 help to recruit builders into their base of dealers so that they are able to profit from pushing home automation products in their homes.
Smart dealers such as Twist Technology (http://www.twisttechllc.com/residential.php) have also started working hand in hand with dealers to further educate them on the technologies that their clients want to see included in their homes.
All of this has combined to change what is being installed in even mid-level-priced homes. It’s good for the industry as a whole, and homeowners.