What’s Hot in Custom Electronics?
Home theater, audio system or outdoor system in mind? A new study shows how your dream system stacks up against others.
September 05, 2012 by Steven Castle

Do you have a home project like a home theater or multiroom audio system installation in mind? A new study by CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) and prepared by research firm Parks Associates shows the hot trends in custom installation, as well as some emerging technologies you may want to consider for your home.

Some 770 custom electronics (CE) pros, electricians, IT (information technology) and security specialists were surveyed on the types of projects they perform, the cost of those projects, and the projects they expect to do in the next two years. Key findings were unveiled at the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis.

Retrofit is red hot—73 percent of projects from custom electronics (CE) pros are in existing homes, up from about 50 percent in 2007, before the real estate crash.

Entertainment still rules—Home theater and multiroom (or distributed) audio systems remain the most popular installations, followed by video distribution and media rooms. Home control systems rank a close fifth. The average cost of a home theater install is about $20,000, while the average audio system cost is $11,000.

So does mobile device control—90 percent of CE pros are integrating at least one mobile device, like an iPhone or iPad, in home control installations. Of that 90 percent, 33 percent say the mobile device is being used as the primary control. Some 86 percent of them offer docking stations as well.

Get out—Outdoor entertainment systems and home networking are hot, with respondents saying installs are up about 40 percent for each. 

Efficiency will grow—Energy management systems that allow people to be more efficient is poised to be an area of growth, with more respondents reporting they plan to offer energy management or monitoring, climate controls and motorized window treatments that can help lower heating and cooling costs, than almost every other category.

High-tech health is next
—Digital home health care will also be offered, but energy management systems appear to be further along.

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

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