Home buyers are a finicky bunch, and their purchasing decisions often come down to small details that set one builder apart from another. Recognizing this, Legrand is introducing its new Intuity platform to allow builders to differentiate their homes by way of popular home automation features. With foundation platforms starting under $1,400, Intuity is designed to be a flexible, repeatable, differentiator that won't break the bank or stall production.
"There's a lot of research showing that home buyers are more often than not asking for technology," says Desiree Webster, marketing communications manager for Legrand. "Connectivity alone is driving a huge portion of the market toward smart home features. Everyone wants to be able to control their home from their phone or tablet."
Capitalizing on Features
Webster gave BUILDER editors a tour of Intuity's system offerings in advance of today's launch. The platform incorporates all of Legrand's existing subsystems, including security cameras, intercom, lighting control, and audio, while also accepting a variety of third-party Z-Wave components for features like door locks and thermostats.
To simplify installation and scalability, Intuity includes modular components that are housed inside a structured wiring enclosure as part of the home's wiring infrastructure. The system's "brain" is its HA7000 Automation Controller, which provides basic internet connectivity, as well as direct support of the Legrand subsystems mentioned above. All the subsystem modules mount inside the enclosure and plug directly into the Central Control Module. Third-party wireless subsystems connect via category cable for power, but otherwise communicate with the system wirelessly.
With Legrand expertise built in, the wiring is all well and good. But, as Webster points out, "homeowners don't see 90% of what's happening with a connected home ecosystem. What they do see is the interface; the connection point to controlling their home. They want one spot where they can open the door or turn on the music in the living room. Something simple to access and use." To that end, Intuity's user interface will be identical and seamless whether homeowners access it through the wall-mounted command center, online, or on an iOS device.
Webster says Intuity is positioned in a mid-range price point to match where home automation technology has come in recent years. "The luxury market is looking for highly customizable products, and DIY products are available but lack the ability to integrate," she says. "We're really targeting the middle tier. Standard market homes, around 2,200 to 3,500 square feet. That will allow us to bring the smart home concept to them in an affordable solution."
Marketing, Training & System Support
Intuity is geared toward the production home market, with a low starting price of $1,398. This foundation system includes the Central Control Module, an in-wall command center, intercom, one zone of digital audio, and Z-Wave bridge for wireless components. From there, Legrand's market reps will sit down with builders to develop the right packages for their homes.
"Builders can customize Intuity the way they like and we've found even with the largest builders that they like to sit down and work through a package with them," Webster says. "It doesn't have to be just one package. There can be standard offerings with a variety of upgrade packages."
In addition to coordinating the components for each package, Legrand is making deep training and marketing support available to Intuity customers. "Part of the process of incorporating home automation is helping builders and their teams learn how to sell it," Webster says. "Can the sales staff and the model home representative talk about it confidently? If not, it's a wasted option on the table." Focused on working with the builder and installer through the sales process, Legrand has developed a 360-degree demo app that gives a virtual walk-through of the system, as well as training, digital and print materials, and professional installation.
As smart homes come to the forefront and builders, Webster says access to the internet and home control through mobile devices has given consumers have an expectation of technology. But up to now they've found the available packages too expensive or out of reach. At the same time, she says builders have been hesitant to adopt the technology due to concerns about tech support, production delays, and cost.
"We've designed Intuity to exceed the buyer's and builder's expectations at the same time," Webster says. "It's affordable, warranted, and professionally installed, so that installer will work with the homeowner as they go through their journey and the builder doesn't have to worry about costs or callbacks. All the builder wants to do is sell houses, and Intuity will help them do that."