A major US house builder has become the latest developer to offer smart home packages to its customers, meaning users can buy a property dripping with technology without the worry of retrofits. Meritage Homes is the eight-largest public homebuilder in the United States, with operations across the Western, Southern and Southeastern areas of the country.

The smart home scheme from Meritage Homes will be known as the M.Connected Home Automation Suite, and will include everything a user could want from a smart home. That includes Wi-Fi-enabled lighting, video doorbells, thermostats and smart door locks.

M.Connected Homes include an array of features allowing owners to interact with their home and take command whether they are inside or away from the property. The smart system enhances the functionality of the home, while increasing its comfort, safety and security.

“As automation continues to advance and become more affordable, Meritage Homes is innovating to meet growing demands and allow buyers to stay connected to their homes. We are proud to make wireless technology accessible to buyers at all price points with a home automation system in our new builds,” says C.R. Herro, vice president of Environmental Affairs for Meritage Homes. “Meritage is resetting the standard, again, for what the best home can and should include.”

The M.Connected Home Automation Suite includes Wi-Fi-enabled home automation features like:

  • Wi-Fi-enabled video doorbells allow users to “answer” their door from the palm of their hand, capture any unexpected motion on camera, video chat with visitors or let the deliveryman know that it’s safe to leave a package at the door.
  • Smart door locks give users a virtual spare key so they can ensure the door is always locked or allow access to visitors from anywhere with their smart device.
  • Wi-Fi-enabled light switches pair directly with the home Wi-Fi network to allow remote management and/or scheduled lighting at the entryway for enhanced security, convenience and ease of use.
  • Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats allow buyers to remotely adjust the thermostat from a smart device. Its automation technology regulates the heating, cooling, fresh air ventilation, and humidity control functions.
  • Advanced garage door openers allow smartphones to act as additional garage door openers. Whether the user is away from home or already tucked into bed, they can feel secure knowing the garage door is closed.
  • Advanced weather-sensing irrigation allows the irrigation controller to pull and respond to local weather data to reduce water waste, allow for smarter programming and keep landscaping healthier throughout the seasons.

Meritage Homes will design every home with a centralised location for the homeowner’s Wi-Fi modem. The M.Connected Home Automation Suite can adapt and expand as technology changes or owners’ needs fluctuate. All of the features are intended to be compatible with various smart speaker control devices, such as Alexa, Clare, Nexia, Google Home, Vivint and many more.

The specific components of the M.Connected Home Automation Suite may vary by division and community, meaning those in Orlando, Florida, may not enjoy the same benefits as those on the San Francisco Bay. Homeowners will also be able to choose from an array of additional offerings and advanced functions in the design centre, however.

Meritage Homes is not the first US house builder to offer smart home packages to customers. Brookfield Residential, one of the fastest growing developers in the US, having gone from rank 50 in 2015 to 31 in 2016, is also offering consumers smart home technologies. Brookfield is including technology such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple HomeKit at many of its communities, becoming one of the first major house builders to do so.

Things are a little different in the UK, with major developers having yet jumped on the smart home trend. Avant Homes has made the first step, having promised Hive Active Heating in all its homes, although it doesn’t go anywhere near as far as the US house builders.

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