Web Cams Bring Customers Into Building Process

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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.

August 01, 2002

 

Four Advantages of Web Cams

Leon Zaks, president of Zaks Software in Rochester, N.Y., identifies four ways web camera monitoring can help a builder:

1. Address insurance and/or liability issues: With insurance rates skyrocketing and builder vulnerability increasing, web cams can help builders and consumers monitor job sites.

2. Keep customers involved in build progress: Offering customers a Web site where they can observe construction can satisfy their concerns about job progress while reducing the frequency of their job-site visits, which can hinder productivity.

3. Create a movie documenting the build: Zaks will make QuickTime movies of the Homearama build that will be displayed on the Rochester Home Builders Association’s Web site to introduce new techniques and building technology to association members not involved in the project.

4. Make a compact disc to help customers remember the process: Builders can use this as a marketing tool that gives them market differentiation and fosters positive customer relations. Present the CD as a gift at the end of a project. As customers share the CD with friends and family, a builder can gain referral business.

 

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.”





 

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