Suburbia: It has been a panacea and an expletive. Touted for affordability and maligned for automobile dependence, suburbia is a fact of life in the U.S.
Web Cams Bring Customers Into Building Process
To help involve consumers in its annual Homearama show, the Rochester (N.Y.) Home Builders Association added a new twist to the building site: web cameras that monitored the building process for three months before the July event.
The Homearama site was equipped with three web cams that monitored site operations 24 hours a day. Real-time shots were streamed to the RHBA’s Web site (www.rochesterhomebuilders.com). Consumers and builders could view building progress live or view snapshots cataloged by hour, day or week.
“We saw this as a real opportunity for us down the road,” says Rick Herman, RHBA executive vice president. “We can sell houses off this. Providing live updates was consistent with the association’s pledge to inform and educate the home buying public.”
Leon Zaks, president of Zaks Software, which worked with the RHBA to create the Web site and equip the Homearama site, says builders should adapt similar web camera technology. If they want to replicate the Homearama set-up, he estimates builders can lease equipment for $200 to $300 a month.
“The main advantage to the builder is an enhanced relationship with the customer,” says Zaks. “Just think of it as a living advertisement.”