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Survey Ranks Home-Tech Preferences

Monterey, Calif. – The home technologies most important to new home buyers are cable/satellite TV prewiring and home security systems, followed by built-in structured wiring, multi-zone HVAC, and a wireless computer network, according to a consumer survey commissioned by the Internet Home Alliance.

The alliance surveyed more than 400 consumers who are either owners or prospective buyers of newly constructed homes to determine consumers’ home-technology needs and how consumers make decisions about purchasing, installing and maintaining home technologies.

The next-most-important technologies to the surveyed consumers included energy management systems, built-in home theater systems, community-wide high-speed Internet connection, home control/automation systems, and lighting controls. These options, on average, were considered at least “somewhat important” by the surveyed consumers.

Technologies that failed to score better than a “neutral’’ importance rating, on average, included Web cameras and Internet refrigerators.

When asked which, if any, technologies ought to be considered standard, most target consumers (76%) chose at least one option. Pre-wiring for cable or satellite TV and home security systems

The survey also found that:

Almost half of the owners, or 49%, presented with at least one home technology option made a purchase when they bought their house.

  • a majority of consumers are either “somewhat” or “very familiar” with many of the technology options available. Most were not familiar with Internet refrigerators and home-based health management systems.
  •  technology options are often the last-mentioned options presented to consumers and that the options are often presented in a “cursory, checklist fashion.”
  • Consumers reported that they would prefer to purchase options after seeing them featured in a showroom.
  •  Most target consumers (69%) considered making one of more technology purchases for their newly constructed home independently of their builder. The most commonly considered technology in this context is a wireless home network, followed by a built-in home theater and a central vacuum.
  • Most target consumers (53%) who considered purchasing one or more home technologies independently of their home builder ultimately made a purchase outside the home builder channel.
  •  A majority of consumers lean towards a consumer electronics store for presenting consumer electronics items and a professional installer for setting them up and maintaining them. If given a choice, most new-home buyers would prefer a certified professional installer present, install and maintain infrastructure technology like structured wiring, but as for major appliances, a plurality would the home builder present the items and a professional installer set them up and maintain them.

The research is based on a two-phase study that included focus groups conducted in June 2004 and a Web-based survey of 404 target consumers in September 2004. The sample for the Web survey was evenly split between owners of newly constructed homes and prospective buyers of new homes.

The main purpose of the second phase was to quantify the findings from the initial focus groups. The margin of error is +/- 5.0%.

The alliance, founded in October 2000, provides its supplier and retailer members with information needed to launch home technology products successfully. Members include Cisco Systems, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Invensys, Microsoft, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, SBC Communications, Sears, and Whirlpool.