The Builder Behind the Networked Smart Home
As a builder, deciding what technology to include in your new homes can be a difficult task. With the Internet of Things proving to be more than just a trend, and so many connected devices on the market, should builders include a smart thermostat, something with Google built in, or perhaps a video doorbell? The choices are endless and all of these have one thing in common: the foundation for these devices is a home’s wired or wireless network. Without an appropriate network, devices are unable to communicate to each other, and they cease to bring value.
Drees Homes understands what it means to deliver on the needs of their customers. They have been building quality homes for more than 90 years. Recently, the builder has recognized the increased demand for technology, largely in part by an influx of millennials – the 23- to 38-year-old demographic – who grew up during the technology boom and are now buying their first homes.
After some due diligence, Drees Homes put together the DreeSmart Technology initiative, which provides homeowners custom options, such as smart lighting, video doorbells, smart thermostats, and more. What makes this program unique is that while many tech options can be selected, every home includes a high-quality wired and wireless network solution as a standard feature.
When you purchase a new home, you would expect it to have basic utilities such as gas, water, and electricity. With so many things being able to connect to the internet, buying a home that doesn’t have a proper network to connect to is kind of like forgetting to include a major utility. Drees Homes recognized this gap in the market and used the opportunity to differentiate themselves by making sure that every home was wired with Category 6 cabling to be able to handle the high-speed services being offered today, as well as a robust wireless network.
To help with the network technology, Drees Homes chose to partner with Luxul, a premium brand of networking products owned by Legrand – a worldwide manufacturer. Luxul’s product line of wired and wireless networking solutions offers an extensive range of robust components designed to allow their network of authorized installers to provide customers in residential or commercial applications with a much more reliable network than can be found off-the-shelf from a local retailer or on the internet. Luxul is so confident in the performance of their networks that they’ve created the Wi-Fi Assurance Program, which helps give homeowners peace of mind, and installers added support and benefits, all of which are valuable for a builder who is including this level of technology in every home.
As part of this program, each system comes with a three-year hardware warranty and unlimited feature updates with lifetime support. In addition, the program includes value-added features, such as internet content management from Router Limits for managing screen time, filtering content, and tracking browsing history.
Drees Homes worked closely with Luxul and provided them with every floor plan, so that Luxul sales engineers could design certified solutions that would ensure proper wired and wireless coverage unique to every model. Each floorplan has a Wi-Fi heatmap that has been created, showing the ideal location for the equipment and the coverage that can be expected once installed – alleviating the potential for problems of a comparable one-size-fits-all approach. As a free service Luxul provides to their builder partners, paired with the guarantee that the system will meet the specs as designed or Luxul will provide the necessary additional network products for free, the Wi-Fi Assurance program has proven an enormous benefit to Drees Homes – even enabling them to offer benefits to their own customers they wouldn’t have ever been able to offer without it.
Every system includes a Luxul Ethernet switch for the hardwired connections throughout the home, a Luxul XWR-1200 wireless router with built-in wireless controller, and sometimes a Luxul XAP-810 wireless access point, depending on the size of the home. This added access point allows for active roaming with patented Roam Assist technology to allow for greater coverage while walking through a bigger home. The primary components fit in an OnQ 30-inch structured wiring enclosure, also from Legrand.
To help better educate potential home buyers on the value of this technology and the additional options available for personalization, Drees Homes paid extra attention to ensure that each technology category was effectively communicated on their websites and throughout their printed materials. They provide potential home buyers with a copy of the Wi-Fi Assurance Program along with the networked heat map for their specific home, and have included a “Wi-Fi Engineered” logo on every floor plan to help aid in the discussion around this great benefit that comes with every Drees home.
The Wi-Fi Assurance Program was rolled out by Drees Homes in October of 2018 to their 10 cities and 12 markets. The builder is expected to have Luxul installed in nearly 2,000 homes before the end of the year, and customer feedback has been positive. Drees Homes customers have noted their satisfaction for how their home has been wired and prepared for the future. The result is greater satisfaction in their home purchase, due to working with a builder who is looking out for their needs.
In a time when everything from a coffee maker to your toothbrush can be connected to the internet, it is important that companies like Drees Homes and Luxul continue to lead the charge in educating consumers on treating the home network as a required utility to meet their needs for today and in the future.