Is there anything a smartphone app can’t control?
Not much, it seems. Today a smartphone tap or a swipe can summon most anything, from the next meal to a new home or apartment deal.
That kind of functionality is often taken for granted. No wonder a prospective home buyer might expect it from a new home. Perhaps you’re already offering some home automation features. But that still leaves the question of which operating system to bet on. Do you side with devices controlled by iOS or Android smartphone apps? Which side will prevail?
Why choose? Why not future-proof your properties with devices loyal to both systems? So observes Gene LaNois, long-time HVAC industry veteran who now leads trade sales and marketing for Nest Labs.
“A home builder should appeal to the widest possible market. How do they make sure they specify things that are both iOS and Android compatible?” asks LaNois.
LaNois understands he brings a particular point of view to the question. But that doesn’t diminish the economic reality of what home builders face in a fast-moving marketplace. Why try to second-guess technology trends? The risk isn’t worth it.
“HomeKit from Apple is a superb application. It benefits the entire industry by bringing people into the smart and connected space. But is it for everyone? Even within a single family you have Android and Apple smartphone users,” LaNois says. “For a builder, it comes down to offering what I call ‘lifestyle impact.’ What can you do to ensure the biggest bang for the buck?”
In a breakneck marketplace, hedge your tech bets with singles and doubles, not home runs. “We’ve seen some builders offer a suite of automated controls for door locks, security cameras, garage doors, HVAC, motion sensors, smoke detection, and lighting.” LaNois advises a more conservative, less risky approach.
“It’s fine to put your toe in the water. You can always jump in when things settle down,” LaNois suggests. “A security camera is an incremental expense if you’ve never done it before. But you always have to install a thermostat. That’s not a reach. That can be a good place to start.”
What else should home builders watch for? LaNois offers several ideas:
Hacker-Safe. Make sure any device you install is safe from hacking. A brand with a secure, low-power protocol is important.
Meshed Network. The device should be a part of a large ecosystem of other connected, integrated devices. No one wants to fuss with compatibility settings.
Latest and Greatest. Smartphone apps constantly update. Why not home automation devices? Home buyers should expect the latest functionality with minimal effort and concern.
Pro-Grade Support. Home building professionals should expect top-grade assistance with any product support question from their home automation partner. The same is true for marketing support.
LaNois admits the home automation market can seem challenging. But sticking to basics and not over-reaching can help home builders plot a safe, sensible, and profitable path. Learn more here.