It was only a few decades ago when I got my first car. Some of you may read that and think, “that’s a lifetime ago”. All I have to say is it goes by in a flash. Things were much different then, especially in cars.
Advanced electronics had just begun to come about. By advanced electronics, I mean that your wipers actually had a delay circuit on them and some cars, the really nice ones, had power windows and door locks. I didn’t get so lucky. My first car had window cranks that ended up making my left arm much stronger than my right.
Technology is ever changing. We all see it by the size of our cell phones. Anyone remember the brick phone? What we may not be aware of is how tech has changed our mindset. All those years ago, and even 15 years ago we did not expect powered features in our cars. It was still considered a luxury to have such amenities. The tables surely have turned as the greater majority of vehicles these days aren’t available without those features. Consumers have not just come to expect the feature sets; they have become so commonplace that most buyers wouldn’t consider a car without them.
So… why should this be of interest to a homebuilder? As it turns out, a very similar trend has been happening in the residential marketplace. When I entered the Residential Electronics industry most builders resisted the need for a Low Voltage contractor. It was all stuff that could be provided by the electrician. Structured wiring, the ability to pull all communications and entertainment cable to one common hub, was a difficult sell when most electricians were just sticking it all in the attic. Now it has become the norm and expected that homes have “that box where all the wires go.”
As you can imagine, the trend goes on. The latest breakthrough climbing the popularity ladder is Home Automation, the integration of electronic home systems like security, lighting, HVAC, and cameras to be controlled and viewed through one common display. After 30 years as an available home feature Home Automation is starting to show up in television ads. It is finally being introduced as an option not only afforded by the ultra-wealthy. The average consumer is becoming aware of it, and I’m being asked for it as part of a standard home package more often. As the technology grows, it becomes more affordable, more common place, and eventually expected as part of the norm.
If only a few decades ago we were contemplating these items in cartoon science fiction, where will we be in a few more? It’s not hard to imagine the items we might actually grow to expect someday.