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

Pacesetter Homes  + Brilliant case study — house exterior
Blake Friesenhahn,  Vice President at Pacesetter Homes Dallas-Fort-Worth
“The industry is always looking for the next big new thing. 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.”
Blake Friesenhahn, Vice President at Pacesetter Homes Dallas-Fort-Worth
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.

Pacesetter Homes

Dallas, TX
  • Top 100 builder (#90, Builder Mag, 2020)
  • Top 10 fastest growing builder private builder
    (Builder Magazine, 2017)
  • Homes range from $290k to $500k

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.

Standard Smart Home Package

Brilliant Control
Brilliant Control
Honeywell T6 Thermostat
Honeywell T6 Thermostat
Ring Pro Doorbell
Ring Pro Doorbell
Yale Smart Lock
Yale Smart Lock


Wemo Smart Switches
Wemo Smart Switches


Level 1 ($200-350k) Brilliant Control (1-Switch), Ring doorbell, Honeywell T6 thermostat
Level 2 ($300-400k) Brilliant Control (1-Switch), Ring 2 doorbell, Honeywell T6 thermostat
Level 3 ($375-550k) Brilliant Control (2-Switch), Ring Pro doorbell, Honeywell T6 thermostat, and choice of a smart lock (Yale, August, Schlage) or smart switches from Wemo.

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.

Pacesetter is on track to sell its first 50 Brilliant-powered smart homes in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2019 and plans to sell 300+ per year by 2022.