Light Reading

Cox Bets on Smart Homes in Vegas

Mari Silbey

Entering its seventh market with smart home services, Cox has expanded into Las Vegas with offerings for home security and home automation.

The Cox Communications Inc. Home Security package, which relies on technology from Icontrol Networks Inc. , includes professional security monitoring, remote access to the home system, mobile alerts, and options for deploying sensors, video cameras, and automation tools for adjusting thermostats, lights, and other small appliances. Cox first rolled out smart home services in Arizona three years ago. Additional markets with access today include California, Oklahoma, New England, Ohio, and Virginia.

Among the broadband and TV industry's many priorities, smart home services continue to gain attention as providers look for new ways to generate revenue from their existing infrastructure. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which briefly exited the market, appears to be returning this year. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had already launched its Digital Life offering in more than 50 markets by the end of 2013. And Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) expanded the feature set for its Xfinity Home services last summer when it introduced the EcoSaver solution and a home-automation-only package called Xfinity Home Control. (See AT&T Continues Smart Home Push.)

It's not clear how much new revenue smart home services are bringing in for providers just yet. However, Comcast did note last June that 41% of its customers buying its home services were brand new subscribers. Strategy Analytics Inc. has predicted that the market for smart home systems and services will top $30 billion by 2018. (See Comcast Turns Homes Into Hotspots.)

Cox, meanwhile, plans to continue its smart home services expansion in 2014. Kristine Faulkner, vice president and general manager of Cox Home Security and Smart Home, is reportedly planning additional market launches this year as well as a "roadmap of advanced services to scale the Smart Home portfolio."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
4/21/2014 | 10:47:52 AM
Re: the winning formula
Cox is probably betting on winning in the smart home markets by getting customers used to the brand. Once you've bought a Cox product, you're likely to continue and add even more services at later dates. The entry into the smart home market will eventually be pretty profitable for whomever locks up the early customers.
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/19/2014 | 2:41:31 AM
the winning formula
Smart Homes & Connected Home is the market where operators have entered, tried to own, stepped back, exited and re-entered. No operator has invented the winning formula yet. I look forward to see how Cox overcomes the odds in "its new casino" in Vegas.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/18/2014 | 4:29:33 PM
Re: Promising
smkinoshita - Has this technology proven popular in Canada?
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/18/2014 | 4:28:49 PM
Re: Promising
brookseven - This may be a case of consumers needing to catch up with technology. 

Do you think Cox will be able to succeed with this in Las Vegas? Anecdotally, I've been told by a friend who lives in Vegas that broadband speeds are horrible outside downtown. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/18/2014 | 9:24:07 AM
Re: Promising
Curiously many of these ISPs have now been offering home security services for a long time, but they're never willing to bust out subscription numbers, which generally tells you all you need to know about how these pitches are going. It's a pretty niche audience they're targeting in the first place, but many in that niche realize they can install most of the home automation (and in some instances sercurity) services themselves for much less money.

Personally, I'm working on getting fewer services from my cable company, not more. Who in the age of bi-annual TV rate hikes can afford this stuff? And if you can afford good home security, why aren't you using a better company actually dedicated to home security?
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/17/2014 | 10:38:39 PM
Re: Promising
Usually Canada lags for technology like this, but Rogers Communications has been offering similar home security and monitoring packages for awhile now.  If we alreayd have something like that then it sounds like this Vegas Bet is a smart one for Cox.
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/17/2014 | 3:26:03 PM
Re: Promising

Carriers have been after that for a long time with no success.  I think Ameritech did the first trial baloon before it was acquired.  


Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/17/2014 | 2:47:20 PM
Home automation is a promising source of new revenue for carriers. Home security in particular can be a benefit -- it's great to be able to look in on your home while you're away, to see what's going on. 

And thermostat controls will be welcome during those blistering hot Las Vegas summers -- get that air conditioning cranking before returning home in 100+-degree weather. 
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