Friday, May 03, 2002

E house's fall opens doors

Industry successes typically are mom and pop operations that stick primarily to their home regions, said Kurt Scherf, vice president of research at Dallas-based Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company that studies emerging technologies for residential and small office markets.

"I'm not so sure home automation is a franchisable business right now," he said.

.... Smart wiring is projected to become standard in new homes over the next decade.  By 2004, half of all new home and 80 percent costing $200,000 or more will be smart wired, studies show.

In a recent study, 40 percent of home builders surveyed say they offer smart wiring today; 80 percent say they'll offer it within three years.

But the idea and much of the technology may be too new for less tech-savvy customers, and therefore investors, Scherf said.  "A lot of consumers still view this industry skeptically."

Less than 1 percent of existing homes are considered "smart," Scherf said.  Most of the growth centers on new home construction, which means a total available market of 1.5 million homes a year.

"Not many investors are going to get excited about that small market," Scherf said.  "Everybody wants to know, where's the mass market?  It's going to take some time to convince big name investors to get into this business."

From the article "E house's fall opens doors," by Devan Stuart.

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