Smart Lighting is one of the top three requested smart features in a new home, but it is also the trickiest smart home product for builders to install. While there are typically only one or two smart locks or thermostats in a home, there are about 40 light switches on average. Legally, light switches must be installed by a certified electrician, usually during the trim phase of the build, so there is little flexibility for the builder and buyer once the electrician leaves the job site.

This makes things complicated for builders because it’s hard to tell which buyers value smart lighting and are willing to pay for it, and which ones aren’t yet ready. So as a builder, how do you offer smart lighting without adding cost and complexity?

Until now, most builders have solved this problem by putting a few smart switches in each new home to “check the box” for smart lighting. This “check the box” scenario is far from ideal as it means the homeowner doesn’t enjoy the benefits of smart lighting and can’t easily add to their system.

With true whole-home smart lighting, one can control the schedules of your exterior lights, set scenes for entertaining in the dining room, or easily turn all the lights off at once. A homeowner misses out on all of this with the “check the box” scenario, and they can’t easily create it for themselves later because expanding a system is often costly and requires an electrician.

To overcome these obstacles, some smart home-savvy builders are installing a modular lighting system, where every single light switch is smart-ready. This means that the home has effectively been “pre-wired” for smart lighting.

The switches the builder installs function normally but can be quickly replaced with smart switches without needing to open the junction box. Homeowners can upgrade to smart lighting before the close of sale or 20 years down the line, without ever having to call an electrician.

With this system, builders can add smart lighting options to their home upgrade menu and get additional revenue just like they would if they added hardwood floors or upgrades of granite countertops. It all comes back to choosing a system that is scalable and upgradable. This is where that whole-home experience comes back in as showing off the amazing benefits of full home smart lighting is crucial to obtaining upgrades.

Marina Resto, Marketing Director at Deako Smart Lighting, notes that presenting these use-cases or sample “lighting scenes” to homebuyers like movie time as they are learning about the product - how it works, what it can do, how it will make their life easier and home safer - can have a big impact on their decision to upgrade to smart lighting.

"Because we're able to demonstrate both the value of a modular approach to smart lighting and the value of a whole-home system at the same time, we've seen incredibly high upgrade rates across every development where Deako is offered," Resto said. "Overall, homebuilders are seeing an average upgrade rate of 51%."

This approach ensures that builders aren't spending money on something the homeowner isn't interested in while also creating potential additional revenue. With a modular system, the homeowners get maximum flexibility to personalize their lighting experience, and the builder gets a cost-effective way to market homes with smart lighting.

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