Consumers are demanding more technology in their homes according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 52 years. Members point to lower costs and the availability of more easy to use web-based tools for growth in the high-tech home improvement market.
“Many people are now using home automation, because in recent years as technology has increased, the price has come down. Today there are starter kits available for under $2,000,” according to Chris Klug, ABC Audio Visual, LLC, in Port Washington with a showroom in Elm Grove. “Homeowners can now use smart phones to open a garage door for contractors, or raise and lower the thermostat when traveling on vacation,” he added.
Some homeowners may be concerned about having to drill holes in walls and run cables around the house to accomplish a high-tech upgrade, but often this is not the case. “Home automation technology can be controlled through Wi-Fi and phone apps directing a device know as a base station,” said Klug. “For most home devises to be controlled, power line control (PLC) technology doesn’t require new construction, however light switches would need to be replaced,” he added.
One application of technology in the home popular with consumers is managing entertainment systems. “For example, you can use a smart phone, computer, or iPad to stream audio from the Internet and have it broadcast from your stereo speakers,” said Klug. “The same computer or phone can also control song selection and volume for your home audio system.”
Another area where homeowners are turning to technology for improved quality of life in broad terms is home security. “Thanks to recent technological innovations, home security has grown beyond just keeping intruders from entering your home. It can now alert you to small problems that might develop into costly home damage,” said Rich Jankowski, Innovative Systems, Inc., in Oak Creek. “Water detection sensors can be placed around your sump pump or water heater to catch a small leak or spill before it grows. Other technology can turn off water in your home from anywhere in the world if a pipe bursts,” he added.
Parents can also remotely monitor the activities of teenagers or babysitters they hire to take care of small children. “Your home office, medicine cabinets, and liquor cabinet can we secured with sensors and programmed to send you a text when a baby sitter enters a place in the home they shouldn’t be,” said Jankowski. “While you are out to dinner, you can also view surveillance video transmitting from wireless webcams on your cell phone,” he added.
Traditional home security measures can be managed and improved using the latest technology. “On your way home from an evening out, you can turn on exterior lights for added safety as you arrive at your driveway,” said Jankowski. “Keyless entry on your front door can be set up to have just one pass code to both unlock the door and turn off the alarm for added convenience,” he added.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 740 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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