It used to be that the dream of owning a centrally controlled home — a home where consumers could control audio, video, lighting, security, heating, and more from a single wall mounted touch pad—was a reality reserved for only the highest end multi-million dollar homes. Hard wiring, custom software programming, ongoing maintenance, and system costs all guaranteed that no one but the wealthiest of Americans could even consider the idea.
Now that dream is well within the reach of just about anyone. A new generation of affordable IP-based home control systems that can be controlled and managed by PCs, touch pads, remote controls and Apple and Android mobile devices are changing the dynamic of home building and home buying — in some cases dramatically.
Rocky DiGiacomo, founder of 20-year-old Minneapolis, Minnesota based DiGiacomo Homes and Renovation, Inc., in many ways represents the leading edge of this new American revolution — he is now pre-wiring every new house he builds for home automation and control.
“I’ve always known that affordable home control would be a dream come true,” said DiGiacomo. “Recent advances in home control technology, coupled with the mass adoption of wireless technology products in popular culture, have taken the dream and turned it into reality. It’s no surprise that someone who uses their iPhone® to program a DVR would love to use their iPhone to control their entire home. With affordable new systems offering a multitude of control functions and media services, there really is a system for everyone. Whether you want to invest $5,000 or $50,000, you can start living in the future, today.”
DiGiacomo’s solution of choice is the ELAN g! Home Control System manufactured and marketed by Carlsbad, California based ELAN Home Systems. Debuted in 2011, ELAN g! is perhaps the most modular, and hence most affordable home control system currently available. From music distribution and lighting control to advanced energy management and security integration, ELAN g! offers a full range of solutions to fit any lifestyle and any budget. Requiring zero custom programming and coming standard with iPhone, iPad and PC control, home automation is now as easy as checking your email!
This sentiment has become common among builders, as evidenced by Jim Blansfield of Blansfield Builders in Danbury, Connecticut, who has used the ELAN g! system to close several home sales in the past year, and has built a total of 13 homes with ELAN systems so far.
“I’m a believer in ‘the new normal’ way of thinking,” Blansfield said, “and with the affordable and expandable control solutions made possible by companies like ELAN, home control is the new normal! In the past two years, I’ve closed several new homes by demoing the ELAN g! system for prospective clients. The buyers are consistently impressed that I include technology in my designs and recommendations, because many other builders minimize the importance of home technologies. For builders, their resistance to change is going to hurt them in the long run.”
Blansfield is quick to point out that while off-the-shelf or cheap systems from companies like Verizon and Lowe’s may sound appealing, they have severe limitations and the average homeowner is not equipped to engineer and design an easy-to-use system that will actually make life easier. He advises all his clients to use a professional integrator who has experience with custom home control.
“Hiring a skilled, knowledgeable, reliable contractor is the glue that holds the whole project together,” he advised. “As home technology gets more and more complex in its abilities, while getting even easier to operate for the end-user, certified professionals will increasingly provide the service and support that enables everything to run smoothly and allow the users to forget there is a sophisticated system at work. Most homeowners are as qualified to build their own home control system as they are to build their own car. They can read all the manuals, and maybe put something together that sort of works, but it won’t be the same as something designed and built by a professional.”
The phenomenon has reached all kinds of homebuilders, such as Karoleena Homes in Calgary, British Columbia, which builds pre-fabricated and modular homes throughout Canada. The company places integrated home technologies so high on their list of necessary design components that they included the ELAN g! system in a show home that traveled to several home shows throughout Canada in 2012.
Coinciding with the availability of more affordable technology is the fact that the children of the first internet generation are now entering the national housing market and, as in every aspect of their always-on lives, they expect their homes to be able to respond quickly and fluently to their changing needs.
“I believe that our industry is on the verge of a market upswing of historic proportions,” said Joe Lautner of ELAN Home Systems. “The first generation of Americans raised from birth on the internet, smartphones, iPods and iPhones are becoming homebuyers. They are going to demand that the home they buy supports their media and technology passions. This generation of buyers is not going to stand for running their mobile lives from an iPhone only to return home to the dark ages of individual appliance control!
Lautner believes that consumers will benefit from a new generation of what he calls ‘affordably innovative’ system solutions that offer consumers specific levels of multi-room and multi-function systems that are clearly differentiated by retail price points. “I believe you will soon see every new home, and indeed many existing homes, offer system solutions that are price appropriate for the price of the home. The higher you go in the home price, the greater its degree of home function integration and control.”
About ELAN Home Systems:
Founded in 1990, ELAN® Home Systems is an industry leading manufacturer of innovative, award-winning whole-house entertainment and control systems that are distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers and distributors throughout the United States, Canada and more than 58 countries worldwide. To learn more, visit www.elanhomesystems.com.
ELAN is part of the Core® Brands division of Nortek, Inc. Core Brands combines the product and marketing strengths of ten iconic audio, power management and control brands into a single business unit that includes ATON®, BlueBOLT®, ELAN®, Furman®, Niles®, Panamax®, Proficient®, SpeakerCraft®, Sunfire® and Xantech® brands.
ELAN is a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc., a global, diversified company whose many market-leading brands deliver broad capabilities and a wide array of innovative, technology-driven products and solutions for lifestyle improvement at home and at work. Please visit www.nortekinc.com for more information.