Becoming a Technology Builder

Of the many home technology products available, I have chosen three that will separate you from the competition. I firmly believe if you demonstrate these products in a show house, a spec home or even your own residence, you will increase revenue on upcoming projects.

Second to structured wiring, the next standard element in new homes is lighting control. Many systems are available, but the best starter system is the Lutron RadioRa Quick Starter Pack. This wireless system includes two car visor control transmitters, one multifunction Entry Master Control, one 10-button Tabletop Master Control, five 660-watt incandescent/MLV dimmers, two accessory dimmers and one RF signal repeater.

This system's major benefit is not requiring additional wiring, and it is a good starter system. Lights can be turned on throughout the house while pulling into the driveway. Additionally, when ready for bed, press a single button and it will set the lights for "go to bed" mode. Installing this system will lead to the addition of more light switches and ultimately can lead to additional sales on new projects, such as fully custom wired lighting control and motorized shades. For more information circle 77 on the inquiry card or visit www.lutron.com.

The words "home theater" have many meanings depending on who is saying them. Still, any home theater begins with surround sound. HDTV, projectors and fancy remote controls, but nothing gets someone as excited as hearing and feeling a demonstration of 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound.

During a recent trade show, I attended a demonstration of a 7.1 surround sound system geared specifically for builders. It was the OnQ Ultimate Surround Sound Solution. This system consists of seven 200-watt in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, a high-caliber 200-watt amplified subwoofer and a Home Entertainment Connection Center for ease of installation. All these products are geared for new and retrofit construction with brackets and mounting options that make this a must for your clients.

This surround sound system complements OnQ's home automation and entertainment product line. By choosing an OnQ Legrand technology partner, you can utilize the manufacturer's marketing system that allows you to create a menu of technology you can offer your clients, and what upgrades are available. For more information circle 78 on the inquiry card or visit www.onqlegrand.com.

Finally, I consider the Sony New Home Entertainment Solutions to be the greatest advance in new home entertainment to hit the market. It allows design/build professionals to offer the best of the Sony line in single- and multiroom configurations. Sony New Home has been specifically designed for sale prior to framing and will require detailed wiring specs based on the number of rooms and products chosen. As a builder, this system easily allows your clients to choose from the Sony line of flat panel HDTVs, components and remote controls in each room.

The product line includes the new Sony WallStation CD or DVD player as a single-room solution, the combination of a home theater with two additional zones of distributed audio, or a fully integrated seven-room solution for audio/video needs. I have seen many builders shy away from audio/visual installation due to warranty issues and installation problems, but this line has solved many on-site installation problems with its preassembled racks.

Sony is offering the best warranty and product replacement I have seen as a custom installer. This product line should be mandatory for all new home builders and designers as there is no upfront cost other than showcasing it in model homes. For more information visit www.sonynewhome.com.

John Cioe is a practicing design/build professional and member of CEDIA and NAHB. Co-founder of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Newport Custom Homes and Custom Home Technology USA, he uses his technology company to educate and develop partnerships with designers and builders across the country. Cioe can be reached at jcioe@customhometechnology.com or (480) 797-8163.

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