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Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud

Mari Silbey

PowerCloud Systems, maker of the Skydog WiFi router and management software, is now, reportedly, a Comcast property.

The startup which spun off from the Xerox research and development organization known as the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), announced on its website last week that it had been acquired, but gave no hint to the identity of the buyer. TechCrunch, however, discovered clues suggesting Comcast's involvement a short time later and now reports that the purchase by Comcast is confirmed. According to TechCrunch, the deal came in at under $50 million. It was not listed in a Comcast SEC filing. So far, Comcast has not been available for comment.

PowerCloud launched its Skydog WiFi router and bandwidth monitoring app as a Kickstarter campaign in April 2013 and began shipping product late last summer. In addition to providing detailed information on home network activity, the solution allows customers to control Internet usage by allocating specific bandwidth allowances to different devices. It also includes substantial parental control features.

The idea of providing more granular control over home networks is growing in popularity. As more devices are connected to the Internet, there is more concern over how bandwidth resources are used. Earlier this year, Israeli company Celeno launched its own advanced WiFi management technology called OptimizAIR 2.0. The software enables provisioning and dynamic bandwidth allocations based on device or network SSID. Celeno announced last month that the technology is now being integrated into routers manufactured by Edimax, and the startup has numerous other hardware companies on its customer roster. (See Comcast Offers WiFi to KDDI, Taiwan Mobile Subs and Arris builds in Celeno's Wi-Fi.)

Again according to TechCrunch, Comcast will not continue selling the Skydog hardware and software at retail. Instead, the company will integrate the technology into its "Smart Internet" strategy to improve the management of connected devices in the home.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2014 | 2:44:25 PM
ReL Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud
@sammasud, well you are correct - if they "bundle" and add that to the subscriber overall cost, and compete on their volume model alone, I think they will lose an opportunity to truly provide services that are valued.  It is a smart move if they are making more money by a competitive solution in larger and growing markets, not just trapping their new huge market customers with added fees. 

I guess we will see if they want to be just bigger or better.

Hang on to your wallet in between!
sam masud
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2014 | 2:33:54 PM
Re: Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud
Equally important, it gives Comcast the opportunity to slap a few more dollars on subscriber fees--so $50M is a good investment. I shudder to think that the few dollars I pay monthly to my cable company for my wireless router have already paid for that device several times over what it cost the cable company.

Yup, folks could use this new router; I just hope the charge for it will be reasonable...it's a thought anyhow.

User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2014 | 1:37:01 PM
Re: Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud
@FakeMitchWagner, it sounds like Comcast has recognized your point and is smart in developing packages to help customers do exactly that.  That can not only add value to their offerings, but potentially create whole new services.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/15/2014 | 1:23:22 PM
Re: Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud

As you say: Home networks are getting more complex. Even something as simple as extending the network to cover the entirety of a big old house is a hairball. Everybody has to be a network manager. 

User Rank: Light Sabre
7/14/2014 | 8:10:06 PM
Re: Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud
@Mari, sounds like a really smart move - both the acquisition and the the technology they are building into their package.  The PARC technology with the granular control, should be a valuable asset in positioning themselves.  They will truly gain market share if they not only focus on size but truly create a competitive offering.

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