Smart Home Tech Trends For 2020

This is how builders can “win” at smart home technology in 2020 and beyond

By KEN KRIVANEC

Last year, a staggering 90 percent of Americans purchased at least one smart home device, with nearly every single buyer segment seeking home technology that provides convenience, comfort, or security.

As builders, we know the demand is there, but we also know the challenges of keeping up with the fast-changing landscape of home tech.

How can builders “win” at home tech in 2020 and beyond? By applying key customer-centric principles – from providing great design and an exceptional homebuying experience, to knowing our customers and anticipating their needs, providing value-added choices and features, building a durable product, and being a great retailer.

Here’s how builders can win with home tech in 2020:

Start by Adding Value

Homebuyers have the option of installing aftermarket solutions, so why should they get home tech from their builder? Every builder should start by understanding how their offerings will add value to the equation for consumers. Some of the added value we offer through our HomeSmart® package includes adding infrastructure inside the home that is built for integrations and minimizes installation hassles. This means the home comes ready-togo with features like USB-ready outlets, smart switches, and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. We also provide buyers with the option to add more complementary home tech through our award-winning Design Studio. At Quadrant, we’ve already evaluated and tested best-in-class products, so our customers don’t have to. Ultimately, we deliver customers an integrated tech experience that improves their lives.

Do Your Homework

Research and innovation should guide every product and feature builders offer. For Quadrant, this has led to including a bundle of best-in-class devices standard, plus, pursuing opportunities with other leaders in the market that allow us to offer our buyers something special. Based on our research on buyers in our market and the available tech, our latest standard tech package includes whole-home voice control, EV plug-ins, smart locks, thermostats, and a meshed Wi-Fi system to power it all without dead zones. For other markets and other buyer segments, there may be a different winning combination.

Go Beyond the Devices

Providing a great customer experience is at the core of our culture. We stay true to our customer-centric approach by offering an on-site home tech activation appointment, where buyers learn how to use their new system, and tailor it to their lifestyle. Simply offering smart home devices for the buyer to configure after closing is not enough and isn’t the level of service they expect. The Smart Home Activations have given our buyers peace of mind, with a 100-percent five-star satisfaction rating at press time. These results are a testament to how big of a benefit this has been to our buyers.

Make it Emotional

Home tech needs to be offered to the consumer at touch points where there’s an emotional connection – otherwise, tech features can just be inanimate objects. At our model homes, we use demos to bring these products to life and show how these devices seamlessly integrate from room to room. When our buyers come to our 4,200 square feet Design Studio to tailor their home to their lifestyle, the technology is central. Buyers are surprised and delighted by the possibilities and features they didn’t even know they were missing. The emotional touchpoint is critical as people envision life in their new home.

Keep Underwriting New Innovations

When it comes to tech, just like with great home design, our job is to lead the way to a better lifestyle by constantly monitoring the market to find offerings that create the highest perceived value and experience for our buyers. In the two years since our groundbreaking HomeSmart® package was introduced, we’ve already updated it twice with new offerings, including some devices that can perform over 50,000 skills. And while the devices in each iteration have changed, our focus has stayed the same: offering our buyers comfort, control, connectivity, and security.

Future Proof

Home is the place where people find solace and refuge from their hectic modern lives. People want to be part of the innovation that gives them peace of mind, and makes their lives easier, more connected, and secure. Whether your buyer is looking for whole-home voice control, or just wants to know the front door is locked after they leave the house, buyers are looking for a home outfitted with what they need not just two or three years from now, but well into the future. In short, technology is a core part of the evolution of the home and builders should be looking to offer buyers a home that’s proofed for the future.

Looking Forward

We are driven to continually design products and services that arrive in the future, just ahead of where the buyers expect it. We’re just turning the corner on what’s possible for in-home tech integrations and expect technology to continue to rapidly evolve. As it evolves, we will move with it, as it plays a major role in our home and community designs.

Ken Krivanec is the President of Quadrant Homes, an award-winning builder in the TRI Pointe Group celebrating fifty years of exceptional homebuilding in the Seattle area.