Over the last decade, home offices were not areas of great focus. Quite often, most only planned for a room with a desk to sit at with a laptop, with very little in the terms of infrastructure or planning. But now, as homeowners are working from anywhere, a robust home office has become a necessity.
Working from home isn’t the only recent change. The pandemic also drove demand for wellness experiences, outdoor entertainment areas, and the resurgence of the home theater. In addition to identifying three of these 2021 trends, Houzz also noted a 58% increase in demand for home professionals. New trends and demand for professional installation spells “opportunity” for residential integrators.
Prior to the pandemic, integrators who supported commercial installations may have had exposure to video conferencing and collaboration technology. Now, project requests for home office upgrades are commonplace, and the smart home has become a gateway to connect integrators with enterprise-grade communications technology.
Crestron introduced a suite of home conferencing products that make it easy for integrators to offer upgrades to a home office, living room, or learning space. Integrators must remember that while video conferencing is ubiquitous today, homeowners may not yet understand the breadth of smart home and conferencing technologies available to them, such as Crestron HomeTime, a single solution like the Crestron Home Audio Conferencing System, and automated scenes like “On A Call” that use an indicator light outside the door to the home office to show that a family member is in a meeting.
Working and learning at home has also boosted the importance of lighting, and it’s pushed homeowners to consider wellness experiences and routines. Integrators can create scenes tuned to the homeowner’s new lifestyle, like a soft wake-up with smart shades that let sunlight into bedrooms each morning and scheduling a smart thermostat to begin to warm up the office up at 8:30 a.m.
Wellness technology in the smart home is also advancing. Crestron and Delos recently partnered on an integration of Crestron Home and the Delos DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence Network that can transform the home with intelligent scenes designed to help support immune health and reduce the transmission of airborne illnesses.
These lifestyle changes are also bringing events and social gatherings outdoors, and most integrators are already well-equipped to take advantage of the rise in outdoor entertainment systems. Some homeowners have added outdoor systems, even for the cold winter months, with the addition of outdoor heaters and gas fireplaces. But as spring creeps in, integrators need to be prepared for the season kickoff to handle an influx of outdoor system installations by staying updated on the latest outdoor speakers, lighting, TV, and audio equipment.
Each new year brings changes to the smart home market, but 2021 has more than most. Integrators have an opportunity to work with existing clients on upgrades and to grow and connect with new clients this year if they take these steps in the right direction.
About John Clancy
As head of the global residential business unit for Crestron Electronics, John Clancy is responsible for the sales, marketing strategy, dealer initiatives, end user programs, and product and software development for homes, hospitality, and luxury yachting. With almost 30-years’ experience in the residential AV and smart home channel, and one of only thirty-eight Crestron Gold Level Master Programmers worldwide, Clancy brings the perspective of the integrator to the manufacturing side of the business. In December 2015, John Clancy was elected to the CEDIA Board of Directors. He also serves on the CTA Smart Home Board of Directors and the Home Technology Association Board of Advisors.