July 24, 2017

This month Miami-based homebuilder Lennar Corporation has launched its WiFi certified smart homes designed for “seamless voice control, shopping and home automation.”

Planned in association with the WiFi alliance, Lennar (the second largest homebuilder in the US, bringing 25,000+ homes to market each year) is the first to participate in its WiFi Home Design program designed to bring the optimum technology-using experience to the home.

Its designs incorporate integrated home automation and voice control via Amazon Alexa as part of what the homebuilder labels its “Everything’s Included” approach to constructing new homes, but significantly the installer is noticeably absent from the picture in favor of household IoT products. Rumors instead suggest Amazon’s “Smart Home Services” (launched only a month ago) will be relied upon to deliver, install and provide support the systems.

“By engineering state-of-the-art Wi-Fi right into the design and construction of every new Lennar home the way we do plumbing and ventilation – and then bringing it to life with Amazon Alexa – families will be able to enjoy a connected lifestyle to the fullest.”

Lennar’s WiFi certified, Android and iOS-compatible home designs are powered by Ruckus Wireless to provide coverage in every room of the home, “with no dead spots” according to the company. It says this can support a seamless experience communicating with the Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, whether controlling their lights, streaming TV or music, unlocking their front door or changing the temperature of their home.
Home automation is facilitated by Samsung SmartThings technology, with other technologies present in the designs including Lutron, Sonos, Honeywell, Kwikset, Baldwin and Ring. At the same time Lennar is making low voltage wiring obsolete, with plans to only implement Ethernet cabling to one or two WAP locations in the whole home. There is also no word on support for outdoor technology such as surveillance cameras or speakers.

“We live in a connected world, but most existing homes simply weren’t built for that world – leading to frustrating dead spots,” commented David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, adding that in 2017 homeowners expect WiFi to “just work.”

“By engineering state-of-the-art Wi-Fi right into the design and construction of every new Lennar home the way we do plumbing and ventilation – and then bringing it to life with Amazon Alexa – families will be able to enjoy a connected lifestyle to the fullest.”

The response to the announcement among the CI community has so far been mixed, with some applauding the homebuilder for sparking an industry-wide conversation on how homebuilders and home technologists can work better together, with others lamenting Lennar’s heavy focus on the wireless technologies of consumer-friendly brands over wired solutions.

Lennar’s WiFi Certified home designs from this month onward, with a nationwide rollout expected by the close of 2017. Homes from Lennar typically start at around the US $245k in some states, and as high as $350k in others.

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