Remember home automation?

Remember those gee-whiz home networks that would automatically turn on the movie projector, close the drapes, and switch-on the popcorn machine?

Many home builders remember it too. They remember the special wiring, special networking hardware and software, and the special headaches and disappointments that went with it.

The question – and the answer – isn’t home automation. Yet the need to offer tech-savvy home buyers a smart-and-connected experience similar to what they expect from their phone or SUV hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s intensified. If a phone or a car can be smart-and-connected with so little effort, why not a home?

Just ask Gene LaNois. LaNois comes out of the HVAC industry, serving more than 20 years with companies such as Carrier and Honeywell. He knows how the industry has trended over the years through incremental innovation and evolving code. For the last three years LaNois has led trade sales and marketing for Nest Labs, makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat and other home security and protection devices.

“Builders are at a crossroads when it comes to home technology,” LaNois observes. “Some worry a home technology bet placed today is obsolete tomorrow.” LaNois is pleased to report the home technology future has never looked brighter, provided a few guidelines are observed:

Keep It Simple. Forget fancy, non-essential home technology. Stick to basics. A good place to start is the home’s most expensive system, the HVAC unit. “I know that’s what people expect me to say. But the truth is, every home has to have a thermostat. It’s the center-point of the home. A smart-and-connected HVAC system is one of the best, most impactful ways a homeowner can simplify and save.”

Learn from Car Makers. The rapid rise of automotive technology should be a lesson to other industries, including home builders. “When you get into your car, things happen automatically. We expect a smarter, more connected experience from the ignition switch,” reports LaNois. “Why should app-focused millennials and baby boomers expect anything less from their home?”

Be Brand-Safe. Steer clear of no-name brands. “When you’re considering basic smart-and-connected upgrades to thermostats, locks, and lights, consider well-known brands. A trusted brand updates their software regularly so the homeowner always has the latest and greatest.”

Open vs. Proprietary System. Pick products that appeal to a mass audience. In other words, choose products that operate on both the iOS and Android platform. “Homebuilders shouldn’t have to tell a home buyer to change their phone so they can operate their home,” LaNois says. “For example, more than 20,000 companies are part of our Works with Nest program – lights, appliances, fitness bands, and even cars.”

Future-proof the homes you build with the simplicity, convenience and appeal of a smart-and-connected strategy. To learn more, start here.