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Texas builder adopts integrated smart home strategy to fuel growth in new markets

by Matt Brown
Texas builder adopts integrated smart home strategy to fuel growth in new markets

Recognized by Builder Magazine as one of the top 10 fastest-growing homebuilding companies in 2017, Pacesetter Homes has quickly established itself as an industry leader in Texas. It also shares a rich homebuilding history as a proud member of the QUALICO family of companies, one of western Canada’s most successful builders. As the company enters a new rapid growth phase that includes expanding to new markets, it sees its new smart home strategy as a key to success and relevancy in a competitive and evolving marketplace.

The Context

Pacesetter first entered the Austin, TX market in 2007 and built a brand that is now known for its award-winning designs, quality construction, and reliability. Having grown its Austin operation to 500+ home sales a year, Pacesetter sought new opportunities to expand and fuel growth by entering the Dallas-Fort Worth market—with its first homes coming online in 2019 ($200k to $450k). At the same time, it also recognized a need to evolve its formula for success to truly stand out as a new entrant in the market.

“The industry is always looking for the next big new thing,” says Blake Friesenhahn, Vice President of Pacesetter Homes’ Dallas-Fort Worth operation. “A decade ago, it was energy efficiency. Now, it’s technology. That’s the next direction that everyone is focusing on. It’s also something that pre-owned housing doesn’t offer.”

Pacesetter knew that more than 50% of all homes in the US are forecasted to use smart home technology by 2022 (Statistica). It also knew that new home buyers increasingly expected new homes to include the latest smart home solutions. The only question left to solve was how Pacesetter could effectively harness the power of smart home technology as a competitive advantage before it becomes a ubiquitous feature in every new construction home over the next 10-plus years. 

The Challenge

Pacesetter wanted to make its homes smart and more user-friendly, but the landscape of solutions available to production builders was limited. Existing in-wall smart home platforms such as Control4 and Crestron were cost-prohibitive, hard to program, and often required significant ongoing support and maintenance. Installing a couple of standalone smart devices like a thermostat, doorbell, and countertop voice assistant failed to make the home intuitive and easy to use for most buyers, and also their families and guests. Pacesetter needed a way to affordably build the smart home of the future, but do it today to support their launch in a new market.

The Solution

Pacesetter first learned about the Brilliant Smart Home Control System based on a recommendation from its technology integrator partner, ESD Technologies. The Brilliant system immediately piqued their interest because was the first in-wall smart home system that could be affordably installed as a standard feature by a production builder.

After installing a couple of Brilliant Controls in his own home, Mr. Friesenhahn and his family were immediately won over by its ease of use. Everyone was finally able to easily access and use all of the available smart features: lighting, door security, cameras, locks, audio/video intercom, music, and more—and it didn’t require use of a phone. Each Brilliant Control offers touchscreen access for the entire home and also includes built-in voice control via Alexa and motion-sensing capabilities, which allows residents to automatically turn lights on and off when they enter and leave a room.

The Standard Smart Home Package

Pacesetter officially joined the Brilliant Builder Program in 2019. Every new home it offers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will be a Brilliant-powered smart home. The company offers three levels of homes, each with a slightly different Brilliant Smart Home package based on the price range and target buyer for the home.

The Results

Pacesetter is part of a new generation of production homebuilders that can now market and sell true smart homes—properties with an integrated system of controls, sensors, and devices built directly into the walls of the home that make the home itself smart, easy to use, and helpful.

“For most buyers, there are several key features of a home that are differentiators and I think this technology is one of them,” says Mr. Friesenhahn. “And the system being so flexible and easy to expand over time is definitely another benefit. It gives the homeowner a great base platform that can evolve and keep up with the times.” Mr. Friesenhahn continued, “This product really solves the issues we’ve been talking about. It makes it easier for our homeowners to connect with technology and it’s really easy to use.” All of this ultimately makes their homes easier to market, easier to showcase, and easier to sell, which gives Pacesetter a bottom-line competitive advantage.

Every homebuyer benefits as well. When they move into their new Pacesetter residence, they can easily use and manage every new smart home product and feature with a simple tap. They can also use Brilliant’s all-in-one app to control their home from anywhere as well. And the upfront cost of the smart home system is baked into their mortgage, which makes it feasible for every new home buyer to own a Brilliant-powered smart home for just a few extra dollars a month.

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