There's been a sense in the home-tech vendor community that the NAHB has to play a stronger role in defining digital home standards for new construction. Help is on the way, as the NAHB has formed a new subcommittee to work with builders to standardize consumer electronics in new homes.
The subcommittee, called the Home Electronics Working Group, held a technology forum at the International Builders' Show (IBS) last January. Lee Odess, formerly of Lutron, moderated the panel on behalf of the Custom Electronic Design & Integration Association. Roughly a dozen representatives from builders and vendors met to talk about what's holding builders back from offering home technology. Odess says that home builders haven't embraced home technology because it's too hard.
“Everyone still gives a different definition for the digital home,” says Odess. “Half the reason builders don't deal with home technology is because they can't get a straight answer,” he says.
Kevin Kelly, vice president of sales and marketing at Builder AV and a co-founder of the working group, says that the main message from the IBS panel was that builders are interested, but they don't want to get bogged down in details.
“They want to sell home technology, but they don't want to learn about the intricacies of each category,” Kelly says, adding that the group plans to prepare how-to tutorials that will be posted on the National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI) portion of the NAHB Web site.
The Home Electronics Working Group is open to all NAHB and NCHI members. To learn more, e-mail Barbara McMurray at firstname.lastname@example.org.