Opportunities Abound for Home Builders who "Get" New Technology

A survey of certified home technology integrators indicates opportunities for the home builder who gets new technology, yet many builders believe that providing a whole-home infrastructure is costly, complex, and only suited to expensive dwellings.

Oakbrook Terrace, May 12, 2004 - An informal survey of CompTIA HTI+™ certified home technology integrators indicates that opportunities abound for the home builder who "gets" new technology, yet many home builders believe that providing a whole -home infrastructure for computers, audio, video, and other systems is costly, complex, and only suited to the most expensive dwellings.

Over the last few years, CompTIA has found wide diversity in the approach home builders are taking to new technologies. While many are at the forefront of the technology integration effort and are leading the way, responses to the informal survey indicated that more awareness of the opportunities would benefit consumers, technicians, builders, and architects alike.

CompTIA and Internet Home Alliance introduced the HTI+ certification in 2002 to help establish a standard of competency for those technicians designing, implementing, and supporting integrated systems. These systems can include computers, entertainment centers, security, lights, telephone, and heating and cooling. They can be integrated into a whole -home system through specialized low -voltage wiring.

When CompTIA asked 100 HTI+ certified technicians, "What is the top misconception new home builders have about home integration and home integrators?" cost was clearly identified as a topic for discussion.

"Builders feel that the technology that can be installed in the home costs too much and affects their bottom line too much," wrote one respondent, "but with the advent of high -speed internet at home, the connected home is a reality and much more cost effective than many realize."
Another wrote, "Home integration is no longer a high -end -only home option," and indicated that promotional material and other information offered to prospective home buyers needs to be clear about the benefits.
The technicians were also asked, "What advice would you offer home builders on specifying an integrated home?"

"Technology is in every home and the right infrastructure and expertise needs to be in place to support it, from the initial wiring through hooking up the homeowner's equipment," said one respondent. "This is a new age, a paradigm shift, in the way homes are wired. Home Technology Integrators can bridge the technology gap between the cable puller and the computer professional and create a further value -add for the builder."

Installers believe that customers appreciate the house being wired for the future - whatever that future may bring. Some builders have already begun training their sales personnel to communicate the capabilities of home integration. According to one survey respondent most people he talked with would be willing to spend another $3,000 to $5,000 up front for true integration capabilities when purchasing a mid -priced new home.

"Installation of the connection ports, the specialized low -voltage wiring, and the control panel is as necessary today as any other basic utility within the structure," reports Carl Bowman, HTI+ program manager, CompTIA. "With trained and certified individuals on hand, it is economical to add an integrated system while the home is being built, rather than later. Retrofitting a system following completion will cost at a minimum two to three times more."

"Builders have a tremendous opportunity to distinguish themselves by including the wiring for computers, entertainment, and all the other linked systems within moderately priced homes," said Bowman. "Consumers today are becoming much more knowledgeable about these systems and more vocal in their desires. When builders and consumers get together on this, everyone is going to win."

More information on HTI+ certification is at www.comptia.org/certification/hti/default.asp.

About CompTIA
CompTIA is a global trade association representing the business interests of the information technology industry. For more than 22 years CompTIA has provided research, networking and partnering opportunities to its more than 19,000 members in 89 countries. The association is involved in developing standards and best practices, and influencing the political, economic and educational arenas that impact IT worldwide. More information is at www.comptia.org.

Elizabeth J. Spalding, CompTIA
+1(630) 678 8330 espalding@comptia.org

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