Lennar Launches World’s First WIFI Smart Homes Controlled by Alexa


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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Newhall Ranch Will Bring Almost 22K Units to LA – Here’s Why It Still Won’t Fix the Housing Shortage

Emile Haddad, Rendering of Newhall Ranch townhouses (USC Lusk Center/Five Point Holdings)

July 24, 2017 04:00PM

Los Angeles County’s housing crisis is so severe that a even a massive development the size of a small city will offer little relief, experts say.

Developer Five Point Holdings won key approvals last week for its Newhall Ranch project, which would bring 21,500 residential units to Los Angeles County over 15 to 20 years. But development would have to continue at the same pace —  and occur at a higher density — in order to have any real impact on the county’s housing shortage, said Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA Ziman School for Real Estate.

“Newhall Ranch will certainly be helpful, but not curative in any sense,” he said to KPCC.

Ten percent of housing at the mega-development, which sits in Santa Clarita Valley, will be priced below-market for low income families, according to KPCC.

The 12,000-acre project is expected to break ground next year, following a decades-long battle with environmental groups. 

Newhall Ranch will start out as two villages with 5,500 homes and 2.5 million square feet of commercial space between them.

Environmentalists have been concerned about the greenhouse gases the project could generate and its impact on local wildlife. An attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity said the group might appeal the county’s approval.

Five Point, headed by Emile Haddad, is working to reduce the project’s carbon footprint to zero, according to KPCC. It’s planning to use solar panels on every home and set up electric charging stations.

The developer is also planning off-site mitigation projects such as buying forest land in northern California and delivering clean-burning stoves to sub-Saharan Africa. [KPCC] — Subrina Hudson

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