Home builders can take advantage of increasing consumer demand for integration of consumer electronics products into new houses, according to a study released from the Consumer Electronics Association. Despite new housing starts being on the decline, the consumer electronics industry should see an eight percent increase in revenue, according to CEA's 2nd Annual New Home Buyers and Technology Purchases study. Builders, looking to differentiate from the competition, may now have a way to help get product sold.

"The increasing importance of consumer electronics upgrades shows a positive trend in the future for home technology purchases," said Tim Herbert, CEA senior director of market research. "Interestingly, new home buyers who did not purchase and install new technologies at the time they bought a house regret their decisions."

Consumer electronic installs on the rise include automated lighting controls, either offered as optional or standard features, broadband, structured wiring, security systems, distributed audio, home theaters, and home automation and energy management systems.

"Home builders have a unique opportunity to create new revenue streams by satisfying consumer demand for home electronics," added Herbert, whose association offers builders Webinars on the best ways to market home technologies to consumers to maximize profits. The CEA study, added Herbert, also found that more than four out of five buyers of home technology are satisfied with the installation services they received. Consumer satisfaction with installation of consumer electronics products increased across the board over 2006. For example, 82 percent of consumers reported satisfaction in 2007, compared with 73 percent in 2006.

To help builders work with qualified installers, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a leading provider of vendor-neutral certifications for technology professionals, recently announced that a new professional credential for technicians in the growing field of home technology integration is now available. The CEA-CompTIA Digital Home Technology Integrator+ certification (CEA-CompTIA DHTI+), developed in collaboration with the CEA, covers all aspects of the connected home focusing on the personal computer as the controlling hub. It is targeted at home technology system installers and integrators, who install, maintain and service digital home products.

"The connected home is no longer just for the rich and famous," said John Venator, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA. "We're seeing mass market acceptance and demand for advanced technologies in the home. But the explosion of digital entertainment options and home network tools brings with it a new level of complexity. The installation, use and maintenance of disparate components and systems can be a challenge for consumers. There is a demand and an opportunity for qualified individuals to provide product installation and integration, and on-going service and support."

In fact, home technology integrators anticipate seeing nearly 15 percent growth in their business this year, according to a January survey by CE Pro magazine. That follows a year (2006) in which integrators said they experienced revenue growth of 35 percent.

"The worlds of consumer electronics and information technology (IT) are converging in the connected home of the 21st century," said Todd Thibodeaux, CEA's senior vice president, industry relations. "Technicians must have skills in both worlds to provide the product installation, integration, service and support that consumers need to fully enjoy a connected home lifestyle."

Technology will continue to dominate our global marketplace, both from a consumer and business offering perspective. Builders fishing for revenue need only look to global Internet waters for ways to enhance their revenue streams.

Note: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,100 corporate members.

CompTIA, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has more than 22,000 member companies in over 100 countries around the world; and serves as the voice of the world's $1 trillion-plus IT industry.

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