The holiday shopping season was dominated by Echo and Dot—the smart speakers sold by Amazon and Google, respectively. A whopping 12 million were projected to sell in Q4 2017, which means homes in 2018 will be a whole lot smarter.

A similar sea change is happening in the construction industry, making the homebuilder smarter in 2018, too. Smart speakers are available as a result of interconnectivity and analytics-based automation, which simplify the user experience. “Data,” according to Ron Tolido of CapGemini, “takes center stage in the 2018 business theater.” He notes that data is not necessarily a “big deal” anymore; businesses big and small, sector by sector are improving, thanks to a growing availability of data and analytics that are simple to use and cost-efficient.

My HomeSphere, one of Constructech’s 2018 Top Products, is a perfect example. Our company was among the first in the industry to gather what we now call “big data” on home closings and product usage through our rebate management platform.

Thanks to the emergence of cloud computing and data analytics, our new product changes the face of rebate management. Builders can use the platform to track and manage earned incentives, as always, but now they can use product data to analyze earnings down to the lot/block or subdivision level, and evaluate where they’re missing out on additional savings.

Additionally, with data more available, builders can now use My HomeSphere to “shop” for new products among the thousands of HomeSphere partner offerings, filtered by feature and incentive, and connect directly with their HomeSphere Regional Market Specialist. Just as importantly, HomeSphere builders can report data on closed homes and product usage nearly instantaneously (two minutes or less) with a form upload feature that accepts any file type exported from their internal systems.

When HomeSphere launched the pilot in 2017, we saw rapid adoption among our network of local production builders. Now nearly 1,000 builders use the application. While the adoption reflects the product’s benefits, it also proves that builders are eager to engage with technology that simplifies their business and enhances their lives.

But this is just the beginning. HomeSphere’s focus for 2018 and beyond is to develop a consolidated digital channel to homeowners, builders, contractors, distributors, and BPMs (building product manufacturers). We will soon deliver tools that allow builders and builder partners to predict what customers might want, need, or buy in the future; the resources needed to deliver the product; and the risks attached.

How powerful would it be, for instance, to predict homebuyer product preferences based on real sell-through, product availability, and spec management? Imagine knowing, in every home product category down to the ZIP code level, what the market prefers and where opportunities exist to differentiate the home you build. Thanks to predictive analysis tools and better data sharing, we will soon be able to combine HomeSphere’s home closing data with housing market data to make this a reality—and allow builders to analyze a potential market so they can build their homes in the right place, at the right time, with the right products and brands.

Builders and manufacturers will also soon be able to plan more effectively using product usage data—ensuring product availability and delivery at exactly the right time, and avoiding costly delays. Manufacturers can plan production and logistics more efficiently, with the exact volumes and models of products that will be needed in a given market for, say, the next 180 days.

HomeSphere is also in the beginning stages of converting product usage data to help homebuyers—and limit callbacks. Our team is currently developing a mobile application that acts as a home warranty binder—only more useful, searchable, and available through a simple app. A builder can simply store the information in My HomeSphere, and the buyer can access all of the information on product warranties through their mobile device.

Of course, data analytics offers a prediction—not a guarantee. That said, taking steps toward strategic data analysis delivers a real competitive advantage. In a recent report by KPMG (“Make it, or break it,” 2017), construction executives agreed that the use of advanced data analytics, along with integrated project management information systems and information modeling, would deliver the greatest return on investment for the industry.

Interested? Builders and partners can schedule a demonstration at the 2018 NAHB International Builders’ Show(IBS), Jan. 9-11, at HomeSphere’s nextBUILD booth #W5392. After IBS, visit

Glenn Renner is CEO of HomeSphere, a digital marketplace connecting major building product manufacturers and local builders. He can be reached at