How the “Gig Life” Will Change Homebuilding

Builders who recognize the growth of the Internet of Things in the homebuilding industry will have a distinct advantage in new home sales sooner
By Suzanne Schlundt

Today’s average household connects six Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the internet, from laptops and tablets, to gaming devices and smartphones. By the year 2022, that number is expected to increase to 50 devices per household.

Technologies that are emerging today—including telehealth consultations with your doctor, virtual reality education, and online music lessons—are becoming standard in many homes, requiring lots of bandwidth to operate smoothly and without interruption.

The home of the future will need to be designed and constructed to accommodate that growth. Homebuyers are already demanding high-speed internet connections that allow everyone in the household to experience the same level of connectivity without buffering or dropped connections. Whether it’s the teen gaming in the family room or the work-from-home professional sending large digital files to colleagues around the world, greater bandwidth and faster speeds are becoming a necessity for today’s homeowners.

Cox Communications recognized this need for speed years ago and has been providing gigabit internet service to business customers for more than a decade. Now the company is focusing on bringing ultra-fast gig speed to all of our residential customers. The Cox gigabit service—called “Gigablast”—delivers gig speed to the home, allowing customers to use more than 100 Wi-Fi devices at the same time without interference or delay.

What does “gigabit speed” really mean? Gigabit speed is internet that’s 100 times faster than the average U.S. speed. With gig speed, you can download 100 songs in three seconds, a full-length HD movie in less than 60 seconds, or upload 1,000 photos in about a minute. The days of waiting for things to stream or download are over.

To showcase the gig technology, Cox Communications recently hosted the Cox Smart Home Gigablast event at Warmington Homes’ Canopy at Esencia, Rancho Mission Viejo’s new hillside village in Orange County, Calif. Rancho Mission Viejo anticipated the internet needs of 21st century homeowners and worked with Cox to bring fiber to every home site during the early phases of construction. Esencia is the first master-planned community in Orange County to offer this amenity to every homeowner.

The Smart Home event was held in a three-story, 2,800-square-foot model home loaded with products, services, and activities reliant on high-speed internet.

The event featured numerous internet stars, innovators, businesses and personalities giving live, interactive demonstrations requiring heavy bandwidth. The demonstrations ran simultaneously from different locations throughout the house and included podcasting, gaming, Wi-Fi cooking and broadcasting on Facebook Live. Other activities included live streaming of music lessons to students around the world conducted by professional violinist Jason Yang, who tours with Madonna.

Also displayed were virtual reality educational instruction, distance learning between middle school students in Laguna Beach, Calif., and a forensic science instructor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, as well as telehealth sessions with CHOC Hospital in Orange County via web conferencing. Additional Wi-Fi-driven devices included CHiP the Robot Dog that operates via voice command, pet feeder, outdoor smoker, slow cooker, double robotics telepresence robot, 3-D printer, Bluetooth weight scale, robotic vacuum and window washer.

The Smart Home also featured the new Contour from Cox, the next generation of television and in-home entertainment. Contour offers voice-controlled remote controls, as well as sports, traffic, news and weather apps viewed simultaneously. A smart search predicts what you want to watch and offers viewers the option of starting a program in one room and finishing it in another. Parents can also customize the television controls based on their children’s ages and interests.

The Cox Smart Home was previewed by the news media and opened to the general public and prospective homebuyers the following weekend. Attendees experienced the “Gig Life,” where no matter how many devices are connected the same level of connectivity is maintained.

Homebuilders interested in providing Gigablast service to future buyers should keep that amenity in mind during the early design and planning stages. The proper infrastructure needs to be provided during construction to ensure the home will have the technical ability to tap into gigabit service if the homeowner so chooses. In addition, builders should plan for and select the products and appliances—including Smart refrigerators/freezers, ovens and washer/dryers—that function well with gig speeds.  Proper wiring for television, the doorbell, furnace, and thermostat that can accommodate future technology must also be incorporated during construction of the home. The internet of things, or the internetworking of connected devices, vehicles, buildings and even cities, will continue to expand as much in the homebuilding industry as in any other field.

For many homebuyers, the ability to live the “Gig Life” is not an option; it’s a necessity. Homebuilders and land developers that embrace this reality will have a distinct advantage in new home sales sooner rather than later.

Suzanne Schlundt is Vice President of Marketing—West for Cox Communications. For more information, please visit www.cox.com/residential/internet/gigablast.html.

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