In the past few years, the residential construction sector has made some significant strides in the adoption of various technologies and continues to push forward in finding the best solutions to address the industry’s pain points.
To find out where we stand with builders and technology, Zonda principal Mollie Carmichael recently delved into the massive topic during a webinar. She provided an insightful look at recent technology trends and their many potential impacts and opportunities for the future. See below for eight ways technology has impacted the business of building homes.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI): With the recent rise of tools like ChatGPT, AI has started to make its mark with builders. Companies are using AI for things like supply chain management, quality control, automated design and planning, customer support, predictive analytics, and smart-home integration.
2. Augmented reality: Virtual home and community tours have proven to be very successful for home buyers. It ensures they have an opportunity to see and feel a space before it’s constructed. Builders have also found success in design visualization and collaboration, safety training and site inspections, and customer education.
3. Internet of Things (IoT): To find out which technology features are most important to buyers, Carmichael asked consumers nationwide to rank the following: home automation, energy efficiency, security and surveillance, health and wellness, predictive maintenance, water management, home connectivity, and home entertainment. The results revealed that energy efficiency was most important, followed by security and surveillance.
4. Blockchain: Looking at one of the industry’s main pain points, the supply chain, blockchain can help track materials, quantities, and timing and provide substantial savings. Carmichael also noted two unique blockchain opportunities, including tokenization of real estate assets and energy management and sharing.
5. Home automation and voice control: Today’s top automation within homes includes the smart-home ecosystem, voice-activated assistants, energy efficiency, security and surveillance, entertainment systems, home health monitoring, and accessibility. Carmichael also had consumers rate these. Once again, energy efficiency and security and surveillance came out on top, followed by fast Wi-Fi connectivity.
6. Sustainability and energy efficiency: As one of the most important topics for buyers, Carmichael looked further into specific sustainable technological practices, including energy-efficient building materials, solar, HVAC, smart thermostats, LED lighting, advanced insulation, water conservation, green building certifications, and landscaping. Solar ranked No. 1, energy-efficient HVAC systems ranked No. 2, and smart thermostats ranked No. 3. Less important features include green building certification and landscaping.
When it comes to green building practices within their community, energy-efficient infrastructure, efficient water management, and renewable energy integration were important to buyers as well.
7. Remote work and smart solutions: Technology has allowed many to now work from the comfort of their homes. As a result, flexible office spaces with integrated technology and smart-home automation is big.
Builders and developers also need to be thinking about how to incorporate work-from-anywhere opportunities in their master plans, thinking about internet connectivity in public spaces or parks, remote meeting facilities and co-work spaces, phone access and apps, etc.
8. Communication and advertising: The field of marketing has gotten very complex with the rise of technology, but also more powerful. Carmichael suggests to get to know your customer with customer segmentation and online clustering, engage on social media, leverage user-generated content and influencers, and have a website strategy.