The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association says the association’s clients are cutting budgets by 10 to 15 percent of the total construction cost, including electronics. Many clients are also pre-wiring their home to upgrade later if they want.
|Controls such as this touchpad by Control4 allow users to set lighting, HVAC and security whil they do the dishes.|
“It is clear that across the board we are seeing a much higher level of sensitivity to budgets with clients paying close attention to costs,” says Matt Carter, CEDIA Registered Outreach Instructor and CEO of Encore Technology + Design in Raleigh, N.C. The association consults clients to support their long-term electronic goals. Interoperability Now A Must
New products with structured wiring or newer wireless technology and other high-end bells and whistles are making great gains, but interoperability is top of clients’ mind. Greg Antonioli, president of Out of the Woods Construction & Cabinetry in Arlington, Mass., calls it the secret to success; it simply won’t do, he says, to have great technology nodes that can’t communicate with each other.
Carter says that new technology allows those interested in automating their home to do so without the cost of installing new cables. This is good news for clients who want to upgrade an existing home and great news for vendors wanting to take advantage of the retrofit market. Wireless products also mean greater flexibility during installation and mobility of devices.
Sam Lucero, practice director for M2M Connectivity at research firm ABI Research, divides the market into four channels: luxury, mainstream, DIY and managed home automation. The luxury market, which normally weathers downturns fairly well, has seen a marked decline in terms of units shipped. ABI reports about 144,000 systems shipped globally in 2007; that number dropped to about 93,000 luxury-priced systems shipped in 2008.
For 2009 the numbers continue to decline. Lucero predicts about 88,000 home automation systems will be shipped.
“The mainstream market is looking at using software and standard space communication technology to bring a significant degree of automation. The industry has been trying to reach home builders and contractors to address this rather large potential customer base,” he says. “From that standpoint, we think the market will grow to 138,000 systems shipped by the end of 2009.”