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estimate that structured cabling adds about one per cent to the selling price of a new home (please see The Home Stretch on p. 22). Depending on your priorities, or your level of technological experti...


July 1, 2000  


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estimate that structured cabling adds about one per cent to the selling price of a new home (please see The Home Stretch on p. 22). Depending on your priorities, or your level of technological expertise, that can either seem a small price to pay or an unwelcome expense.

There are compelling reasons for implementing new technologies in the residential arena, but there is also an evident learning curve where many end users are concerned. This means that a good deal of the responsibility for educating the consumer will fall to the structured cabling professional.

This education will entail taking a careful look at the technology and its benefits and finding ways to relay the advantages to the end user (the homebuyer). And it will mean taking terms like “future proofing” and “interoperability” and making a solid business case for them that is both comprehensible and attractive.

The extra one per cent cost of wiring a home today may or may not remain static — the actual number is not the issue. The point is that while a home owner may potentially spend an extra $5,000 for a high-efficiency natural gas furnace, in order to achieve cost savings in the long term, buyers of new homes may not see the long-term value of spending more for structured cabling and high-end technologies.

Of course the benefits are numerous. The most immediately tangible benefit will be the ability for multiple computers to share Internet access and printers in the home. And there is also a clear trend towards the consolidation and integration of currently disparate systems (i.e., lighting, security, HVAC and Internet access) that would do well to, at the very least, be administered from a central framework — i.e., the homeowner’s console — be it web-based or a somewhat more proprietary method. In addition, incentives such as the emergence of VoIP — currently not an area of clear benefit for new homebuyers — may ultimately have an impact on a financial decision.

But despite the exciting advances in technology, the main reason structured cabling in the home will be a widely adopted building practice ultimately comes down to the consumer’s ROI (Return on Investment).

Presently, there is a clear benefit to installing high-efficiency appliances (savings while occupying the dwelling) or building a deck onto a home (resale value). Similarly, if the residential wiring environment can be made a “value add” at the time of sale, there will certainly be a bright future for residential network cabling.


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