In an industry first, KB Home and Google are aligning strategically to introduce a smart-home bundle of technologies backed by "white-glove service" for installation in four KB operating markets to start.

Announced today, the KB Home Smart Home system connects door bell, door locks, thermostat, appliances, light controls, window shade motors, and other personalized functionality through a Google wifi mesh network strengthening signals throughout the home, powered by Google Assistant, and activated through Google's Home and Home Mini smart speakers.

The venture, which follows on Lennar and Pulte announcements of enterprise-wide initiatives to install smart home features and functionality in their new homes, differs from the others in an important way. While Lennar's Wi-Fi Certified Homes, and Pulte's smart home bundle depend on Cat6 pre-wiring in various parts of the home for all-home coverage, the KB plan for "mesh" network services, to be installed, quality-checked, and serviced through a Google joint venture with DISH Smart Home Services, saving on costs and adding to residents' customer support.

According to a press announcement this morning:

The KB Smart Home system will be included with new home sales at select communities, in Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; Jacksonville, Florida; and Orange County, California, and its components will also be available as options to KB homebuyers at the KB Home Design Studios in those markets. KB Home and Google are aiming to expand the availability of the KB Smart Home system to more KB Home communities across the country, based on consumer response.

Jeffrey T. Mezger, CEO of KB Home

“We are pleased to be the first homebuilder that Google chose as a partner,” said Jeffrey Mezger, chairman, president and chief executive officer at KB Home. “Our new KB homes are built to fit our homebuyers’ unique lifestyles, preferences and budgets. Now, with the KB Smart Home system, we can elevate the performance of their homes to provide them with an even greater degree of day-to-day personalization and comfort. With just spoken commands to a smart speaker or the touch of a button on their smartphone, KB homeowners will be able to control smart devices such as their thermostats and check who is at the front door.”

Importantly, the moves by Lennar, Pulte, and now KB reflect that in order to give today's home buyers what they're looking for in new homes, they--and many other home building firms--are engaging with product manufacturers and materials suppliers at an much earlier stage of the design and development cycle to explore how systems and structure need to be designed and engineered to inter-operate and deliver higher value to the homeowner.

In our exploration of the potential for such integration, BUILDER and KB recently convened a meeting of its entire complement of manufacturer, systems, and materials partners in the KB Home ProjeKt, which intends to roadmap #wheretomorrowlives in a smart, healthy, sustainable home of the future.

Among the emerging functionalities that will tie lighting, room air comfort, air and water filtration, noise reduction, and other systems together KB and Google will also bring in Delos, which this week unveiled plans to introduce its DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform — a groundbreaking offering designed to enhance health outcomes in the home and mitigate harmful indoor environmental concerns, utilizing Delos’ proprietary wellness algorithms and sensor technologies, to create spaces that help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase performance and enhance overall well-being.

While Delos' DARWIN system is being piloted on a wide-scale basis in Australia, and will be available in custom homes in the United States, the KB Home ProjeKt will be the first U.S. high-volume builder application of this new smart home health and well-being system.

Here are some other details in the KB Home Smart Home announcement today:

The KB Smart Home system features top-of-the-line products and is designed to accommodate additional emerging technologies as they come to market. The components include:

  • Google Wifi “mesh” network that is designed to deliver consistently strong and secure signal throughout the home
  • Two smart speakers, including a Google Home, and a Google Home Mini, with voice control and automation by Google Assistant
  • Nest Hello Video Doorbell
  • Professional installation and integration of all devices for seamless interconnectivity by DISH Smart Home Services after move-in

Additional smart home products, which use the best of today’s advanced technologies, will be available at select KB Home Design Studios. Customers can choose from a wide variety of options, including connected appliances, light controls, motorized window shades, door locks and more, to personalize their new KB homes and create an easier, more intuitive lifestyle.

The KB Smart Home system will be showcased starting today at KB Home’s Stapleton Starlight Collection community in Denver. KB Home will host an open house on Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Stapleton Starlight Collection, located at 9301 59th North Place in Denver. For more information about the KB Smart Home in partnership with Google, visit kbhome.com/kbsmarthome.

As these announcements show, people expect more from their new homes and communities today, and home builders and their partners are working to help people set the bar even higher as to what they should expect.