Canadian Contractor

Building better by building ‘Smarter’

Consumers now expect more Smart Technology in new homes and renovations


January 6, 2016
By John Bleasby

Experts claim that up to nine out of ten new homes built today are pre-wired for broadband communication. This is not simply a desire for faster internet; it’s a sign that consumers are expecting to use more and more Smart technology in their homes. Surveys in the United States indicate that close to 1/3 of builders feel pre-wiring homes for even relatively rudimentary conveniences such as home theatre and security systems has boosted their bottom lines.

Prewiring opens the door for future integrated third party applications that are limited only by the imagination. As application designers increasingly coordinate their products through ‘open systems’, it will in fact become easier for new ideas to reach the home market in volume.

Make it safe & make it ‘Smart’
Where is the builder’s best bang-for-the-buck? Studies indicate the nine of ten homeowners name security as their number choice for pre-wiring. In fact, one U.S. study claims that nearly 70% of prospective homeowners would hesitate buy a home if it was not pre-wired for security, and over one third would outright refuse! And security means more than a simple alarm that goes off when confronting an intruder. ADT makes a

Programmable smart strip (photo credit: Bits Limited)

Programmable smart strip
(photo credit: Bits Limited)

system that will dim or switch off all lamps and lights, adjust the thermostat, and lock the doors at bedtime… all with the touch of a button. Also high on customers’ wish lists are thermostats can be remotely controlled from within or outside the home by smart phone. They are on the shelves right now.

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‘Smart’ is not restricted to broadband
A Smart Home does not necessarily mean a home that runs exclusively on new broadband applications. In fact, stand-alone smart technology with energy conservation in mind has been around for a while. In Canada, where temperatures extremes are the norm, homeowners can benefit from tank-less hot water systems that produce hot water only when needed, or ‘zoning’ their HVACS’s to suit temperature and humidity variations across the home. New smart power strips can automatically put devices into ‘sleep mode’. Samsung and LG have introduced power guzzlers like washers and dryers that can be timed and enabled by smart phone for use during lower cost power periods.

The best is yet to come 
pet door2Some of the upcoming ideas are really creative! Pre-wiring, either in a new home or a major renovation, might one day allow applications like the SureFlap to become part of your customer’s life. Imagine a pet door that senses when your dog or cat is approaching and opens automatically! Need a mood boost when the days or nights are long and dreary? There are new lighting products coming on market that adjust automatically to the home environment and even change colour to make you feel happier!

Planning for pre-wiring and placement of wireless connectivity equipment should be part of your customer’s home building or renovation plan. By leading the way for them, you will increase their long-term satisfaction, and your potential profit margin.

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