Remodeling asked Rob Dzedzy, founder of West Chester, Pa.-based home technology design and installation firm Media Rooms, for his insight on the connected home market and what remodelers should know about the technology.

Q: Can you provide a brief background on what you and your company do?

A: I started Media Rooms in 1983. We design and install home technology and home theaters. Our approach is different than most electronic systems contractors in that, in addition to electronic systems, we also have an in-house design center and in-house custom cabinet shop. This allows us to provide complete turnkey service.

Q: What sort of smart home technology are you seeing the most interest in from consumers?

A: Smart home technology is becoming more popular now because of products like Alexa and Google Home; however, we have been installing home automation (smart home technology) for well over 20 years. For years now, luxury homes have had automated systems, like motorized window treatments, lighting control, HVAC control, distributed audio and distributed video, surveillance cameras allowing remote viewing, remote pool and spa control, etc. Now we are seeing the technology becoming mainstream.

Clients want the ability to adjust their thermostats from wherever they are, or the ability to unlock a door when the plumber shows up a hour early. The main requests we are seeing regarding home automation are lighting control, motorized window treatments, and HVAC control. The two main benefits are energy savings and security. A third benefit is lifestyle convenience.

Q: When working with remodelers, what are some of the most common misconceptions they have about the technology?

A: Everyone has a misconception that all devices work together seamlessly. There are several different types of connectivity, such as WiFi, ZigBee, Z-wave, Bluetooth, etc. The smart home devices need to be using the same type of communication protocol in order to work together.

Another misconception is that home automation is expensive. New products are coming out frequently and the price of a connected home is not nearly what it was a few years ago.

Q: What advice would you give to remodelers who are interested in including smart home technology but unsure about where to start?

A: I advise remodelers to partner with a home technology professional. Smart home technology changes and advances rapidly, so having a trade partner that can guide the remodeler through the details will be a win-win situation for the remodeler and the homeowner.

Q: How will remodelers benefit from including smart technology in their offerings?

A: Remodelers who understand the importance of a connected home will be in a better position to engage a tech-savvy client. We will see more and more connected devices in homes over the next few years. In addition to automated thermostats and lights we will see connected appliances, water systems, garage doors, ceiling fans, pet food dispensers, and so on.

For more on the connected home market, check out our latest smart home feature.