There's Gold in Them There Walls
In fact, the two most common installations next to structured wiring—monitored security and multi-room audio—both increased over the last two years in the study. Monitored security rose by 17 percent, while multi-room audio installations increased by more than 25 percent.
"In many cases, structured wiring is necessary to do the other things," On-Q's Hanchette says. "You could do it without it, but it would make things more difficult (in the future)."
Other applications offered include home theater, automated lighting controls, home automation and energy management.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MAGIC
In the end, applications are what sell structured wiring anyway, not the idea of having high-speed cables stretching throughout your house. It's like selling a picture tube or an automobile engine or a motherboard; only the most savvy of consumers would want such underlying components. Most people want the finished TV or car or Windows PC—the applications.
Simply put, as we've heard more than once before, consumers want the magic, not the trick.
"When I talk to someone about building a new home and talk to them about a digital distributed audio system that runs over Cat 5 and RG-6, that's pretty scary," Hanchette says. "But if I ask them if they think it's cool to listen to their music from anywhere in the home, they start to think about something they really want."
Of course, to sell to the homeowner, you often have to get in good with the builder. If you don't already have a relationship with a builder, it can be difficult to get started. A catch-22: For 83 percent of home builders, the most important factor in selecting a home technology installer is experience working with them, according to the CEA study. Reputation and price are the other top factors.
But there is good news for custom retailers and installers. The number-one application that builders want to install but don't because of their unfamiliarity with the technology involved is home theater. That's an opportunity C-tailers should be exploiting.