Inaugural TecHomeX East Guest Uses Event Lessons to Bring More Tech to Buyers

One Connecticut builder began taking steps to creating the TecHome after last year’s event, and 2019’s TecHomeX West and East will help him, and all attendees, take their trade team collaboration to the next level.

When TecHomeX East made its debut last year at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., builders, integrators, architects, designers and contractors from the Northeast better developed their relationships with each other, and overall understanding, around tech. For many of the 105 hosted guests, this was their first real experience in committing to the TecHome.

Among those guests was Duane Barney, president of DCBuilds Construction in Ridgefield, Conn. He attended the event with a limited background in tech, but with the understanding that it was something about which he needed to learn more because he knew the desire for those options among his clients was growing. He wanted to make sure he knew the latest that was going on with tech and also about the processes he could implement to make incorporating that tech seamless for his clients.

“Prior to the show, I didn’t understand the importance of bringing that up with clients earlier on,” Barney explained. “I guess I had a hint of it, but I just didn’t understand the overall capabilities of the integration, and a lot of this stuff does need to be considered up front. You can have the best HVAC system you want, but if the one you want doesn’t integrate with your back-end systems and your control systems, you’re not going to achieve your desired results.”

Delta Products’ BreezSignature SIG80-110MHLED 80/110 CFM Fan/Dimmable LED Light & Night-light with Humidity & Motion Sensors
Delta Products’ BreezSignature SIG80-110MHLED 80/110 CFM Fan/Dimmable LED Light & Night-light with Humidity & Motion Sensors

In the wake of TecHomeX East last May, Barney published a LinkedIn article about his main takeaways from the event, which included the need to plan for the smart home and the ease with which he could create one.

One of the ways he could do that was by finding those products that could make a home smarter through one-on-one meetings and boardroom presentations with sponsoring manufacturers. These interactions were not only informative for him, but he also was able to find a product he wanted to make a standard in his homes.

During a one-on-one meeting with Delta Products, he learned about the company’s TecHome Brilliance Award-winning BreezSignature fan, which includes a dimmable LED light, humidity sensor and motion sensor, while operating at an extremely quiet 0.3 sones.

Barney was immediately impressed by the product and continued his research on it following the event. He eventually decided that adding it as a standard would improve his homes and help him provide better service to his clients.

“The quietness of their fan was very impressive, as was the humidity control and technology built into their fans,” Barney says. “I decided this is so simple it should just be our standard. Just running out and buying a fan, that’s not the quality level I want to be presenting to my clients. These are the kind of things I’m looking for – ways I can help my client in a better way.”

His experience at TecHomeX East helped him develop ways to do that, through both products and client engagement.

Duane Barney (right) meets with a sponsor during exhibit hours at TecHomeX East 2018.
Duane Barney (right) meets with a sponsor during exhibit hours at TecHomeX East 2018.

In the months that followed, Barney has been having conversations about tech with his clients earlier in the process than he ever has before. While his buyers are considering many things for their home at the start of the build, such as tile, draperies and paint colors, he also is trying to now get tech options to be added to that list.

By having those conversations, he is finding his customers are more receptive to adding tech. However, he also is finding there is an education curve for them. Barney is looking forward to reengaging with peers and vendors at TecHomeX East 2019 to continue his own understanding of tech, which will help him navigate those conversations with clients, especially those that come early on.

“My first goal again is to see what’s changed in the last year,” he says. “That probably will be my same goal for years to come as things keep changing. But I do want to keep learning about the front-end planning process of it all. What conversations should I be having with a client while we’re excavating? While we have some time, what should we be thinking about? How do we have that conversation? Where do we start? What is that core we should be building upon? That’s kind of the part that I don’t understand yet.”

Those answers will come at this year’s TecHomeX, which will emphasize front-end processes like merchandising, marketing, sales and design, along with back-end processes crucial to customer experience like user training, retraining and long-term customer care via managed and field service. The builders, integrators and other design and subcontracting trade professionals in attendance also will connect with a broad landscape of technology manufacturers and work together to define better processes for collaboration.

TecHomeX West will be held March 19-21 in Pasadena, Calif. and TecHomeX East will take place from May 14–16 in Orlando, Fla.

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