Builders Want Smart Homes
One of America’s largest homebuilders, Lennar, made headlines this week with the announcement of what it is calling the “World’s First Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Smart Home”. Lennar’s tagline reads, “New homebuilding approach embraces Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Home Design to enable seamless voice control, shopping, and home automation.” This program is being developed in partnership with the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Lennar’s website goes on to explain that the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Home Design represents a standardized approach to Wi-FI in the home designed to ensure zero dead spots. These homes are being powered by Ruckus technology and marketed to buyers as a way to seamlessly control lights, door locks, and temperature using Amazon Alexa. The homes also feature a SmartThings hub from Samsung, and well-known products including Ring, Honeywell, Baldwin, Kwikset, Lutron, and Sonos.
A Sign of Healthy and Growing Demand
This is not the only news we’ve heard about builders getting hands-on with the smart home. Toll Brothers also made news recently with a smart home expansion of its own, rebranding its longstanding Westminster Security subsidiary to “TBI Smart Home Solutions.” Two other large homebuilders here in the states, Brookfield Residential and KB Home, both now feature HomeKit-enabled smart homes. And if this integration scene is any indicator, there are other builders who are taking an increasingly active role in the smart home.
These are clear signs of healthy demand for connected home technologies. Conversations about the smart home going mainstream have been taking place for years (decades perhaps). But 2017 appears to be the year that we are finally seeing the first signs of these predictions coming to fruition. The significance of this should not be overlooked.
After the Honeymoon, Who Will Own the Experience?
The single biggest question we have to ask is who will own the experience once the home technology honeymoon is over? You are certainly aware that the shine of a brand-new smart home does not last indefinitely. Regardless of how well the systems are installed and commissioned, or whether the system is comprised of off-the-shelf DIY products or the best gear money can buy, systems will eventually fail. The only cure for the homeowner frustration that will surely ensue is a highly responsive and readily available service team that can solve complicated problems fast.
Service is the single biggest determinant of the overall customer experience in the smart home. High-end custom builders (at least the good ones) all know this well, which is why so many of them stay relatively hands-off when it comes to home technology specification and implementation. Instead, most of these builders steer their clients toward firms with solid track records of providing this ongoing care, even if they come with a higher price tag than the competition.