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Australian builders are technology dunces with research showing that many of them are not offering a technology solution other than when asked. In the USA the story is very different.

Australian builders who dont’t have a clue when it comes to technology had better watch out as consumers are now demanding the latest in consumer elerctronics. In the US  homebuilders sold $11 billion worth of technology products in 2004 and expect sales to increase 10-12% in 2005, according to Parks Associates’ “2004 Builder Survey.” These findings show builders growing into a formidable channel for the distribution of advanced products such as home networking and multiroom audio systems, with 62% of all U.S. builders on the lookout for new products and capabilities that could differentiate them in the market.

A recent survy of the membership of the Australian Institute Of Buiilding reveals that 90% of respondents are not offering a technology solution. Instead they wait for the consumer to request consumer technology  and then find a partner who can deliver it. This say US research company Park Associates is a receipe for disaster.  Bill Ablondi, director of channel research for Parks Associates said “Builders in the USA are well into a new era in home building that encompasses much more than lumber, bricks, and granite countertops,” said “Over one-fourth of builders have employees actively evaluating new technologies for their potential both to boost sales and serve as differentiators. Solutions such as home networking and audio distribution systems offer great opportunities for manufacturers to get in on the ground floor of the digital-home trend.”

To gain greater insight into this growing market, Parks Associates,has launched “2006 Builder Insights”, which is a multilevel project surveying builders’ sales of technology products and services.

2006 Builder Insights is designed for manufacturers and service providers to learn about the builders who are adding technology products to their offerings, the selection criteria they use to choose products and vendors, and what they need to help merchandise these amenities. The research will comprise both a broad-based survey of at least 250 local, regional, and national home builders and case studies of selected builders chosen based on their profitable technology sales strategies.

“Key product categories we plan to cover include home theater and multiroom audio systems, structured wiring, central control and security systems, and others such as central vacuum systems,” Ablondi said. “We also plan to analyze current partnerships and future opportunities between builders and service providers, such as utilities, telcos, and cable MSOs, to offer communication, broadband Internet access, security monitoring, and premium content services.”

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