For years homeowners have been looking for relief to rising energy costs. Early versions of home energy controls were billed as one solution to help keep those energy costs in check. They were marketed as a way to maintain a comfortable lifestyle while effectively managing the home’s energy usage. The only problem with these early technologies is that the energy savings have always been greatly offset by the high cost of home energy control products.

That was yesterday.

Today, technology has greatly improved innovative wireless control technologies. Products now on the market have opened up new opportunities for home electronics distributors to grow their business, as well as given homeowners new ways to maintain and even reduce their home energy costs.

Intelligent wireless home controls such as the affordable Intermatic InTouch system allows homeowners to better manage their indoor/outdoor lighting, entry access, electrical appliances, motorized window treatments and heating and cooling systems — all from the touch of a button.

The wireless trend

As previously mentioned the idea of having a centralized unit to control a home’s energy usage isn’t entirely new. However, home controls traditionally have come with tradeoffs: reliability often meant expensive, while low cost equated with a lack of reliability. Yesterday’s technology was unable to produce a home control system that could be affordable and reliable at the same time. The inevitable march of technology has changed all that now delivering wireless home controls to a largely untapped market.

Although it sounds like something out of The Matrix, “mesh networks” signify the breakthrough technology that has made affordable, reliable, wireless home control possible. In a wireless mesh network every line-powered device, such as switches, dimmers, receptacles, and controllers acts as a repeater to route signals around the home. The advantages of this approach are significant. Signals have multiple routes to get from one place to another creating highly reliable and resilient communications pathways. Additionally, the system isn’t burdened like traditional systems that required costly central repeaters.

Many manufacturers are racing to offer products that deliver the capabilities of wireless controls to homeowners. Today’s most popular systems operate in the 900 MHz band, which provides a penetrating signal to deliver reliable communications between devices. Additionally, offering wireless home automation products that interoperate seamlessly give homeowners and home electronics distributors an even greater selection of products to choose from. Finally, mesh network-based wireless control systems overcome the traditional system security issues by providing billions of unique house codes, eliminating interference between neighboring systems.

This technology of home automation offers new ways for homeowners to save money. Products such as dimmers, switches, receptacles, occupancy sensors, thermostats and remote controls allows homeowners to dramatically reduce their watt consumption — which ultimately reduces their energy costs.

Of course, the true energy saving advantages of a wireless home control system depend on central intelligence to create the timing schedules that drive those savings, and these are available in both permanent wall-mounted as well as portable solutions. What all this means to homeowners is an affordable, reliable home control system that leads to significant energy savings.

For the home electronics distributor

Now that technology has enabled wireless home controls to be affordable and reliable, it has opened an entirely new profit opportunity for the home electronics distributor. Remember, many previous home control systems were characterized by cheap products with poor performance, or perceived to be an add-on that was too expensive for most people. This kept home control systems, and the energy savings they can provide, out of reach for the majority of homeowners and therefore an unrealistic add-on for homebuilders. The result: only the wealthy were able to enjoy the convenience and energy saving features of intelligent home controls. Hence, awareness of home control technologies outside of this small segment of the market has always been low. Many home electronics distributors, builders and homebuyers are still unaware of the affordable and reliable wireless control systems that are now available to them.

Now the push for energy savings and convenience is raising awareness of the new home control products and, along with this new awareness comes new opportunities for home electronics distributors to increase their sales. Affordable and reliable wireless home controls are still fairly new to the market, which means the home electronics distributor willing to promote the concept can get an early jump on the competition and capture a significant share of the sales in their area.

By promoting the energy savings potential of wireless home controls, home electronics distributors are adding to the services that they can offer to their customers. Earning a reputation as an expert in wireless home controls is a great way for a home electronics distributor to earn credibility and differentiate from the competition. Also, as awareness and word-of-mouth success stories start to spread about wireless home controls, the home electronics distributors who got in on the “ground level” will be well positioned to reap the benefits of this wireless technology.

Selling wireless technology

The technological advances in wireless home controls have made selling the concept much easier. For most homeowners the ideas of convenience, security and cost savings are tangible selling points that they can wrap their arms around. Of course painting a picture of what a comprehensive home wireless controls system actually means to a homeowner is also a very powerful selling technique:

Imagine returning home to find the lighting set at the perfect level for safe entry, the heating and cooling system just reaching your preferred temperature, and your favorite music playing. You can relax, secure in the knowledge that while you were gone, your wireless home control system was watching over your home and managing your energy usage …

When the home electronics distributor or design center salesperson paints a scene like this to the customer, it’s hard to turn down. Wireless technology such as InTouch helps homeowners set the scene for work and play; setting lighting and other home equipment to the ideal welcoming environment — all before setting foot in the door.

Remember, another selling point is the energy savings that wireless home controls provide homeowners. By customizing their home’s electrical usage, homeowners control their energy management usage to best suit their lifestyle. Additionally, wireless home controls add value to the home, increasing prestige and resale values, and can be easily modified as lifestyles change.

Ultimately what wireless technology means to homeowners is that all the convenience, comfort and safety of a home control system can be theirs without concerns over system reliability or compatibility between products. Promoting wireless home controls to the customer can add greatly to the home electronics distributor’s bottom line. The possibilities—and profits—are unlimited.