Light Reading
MSOs and telcos are getting into home security and monitoring, but report warns that they'll have trouble turning that into a material business

Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers?

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
4/11/2012
50%
50%

Several major U.S. MSOs and telcos are rushing into the home security and automation market, but this potential growth opportunity may not evolve into a material business anytime soon, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. warns in a new report.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are attracted to this market because the residential and small business segment for security and automation services is big (US$12 billion and 30 million homes), profitable (margins in the range of 50 percent), and fragmented (the top three, dominated by ADT Security Services Inc., together hold just 30 percent market share). There also seems to be room for growth as just 23 percent of homes currently take home security and automation services.

While Bernstein does believe that the MSOs and telcos are positioned to get their "fair share" of the existing home security market while also targeting the emerging home automation sector, the investment bank's researchers are not confident that the strategy will evolve into a big profit-maker.

The firm notes that each point of the current market is worth $120 million in revenues and $60 million in EBITDA. If cable were to grab 5 percent of the market in five years, that's still just $300 million in EBIDTA. If Comcast were to get 40 percent of that, we're still talking about $180 million in annual EBITDA, contributing less than 1 percent to the EBITDA that Bernstein is predicting for the MSO in 2016.

But that sort of prediction hasn't stopped the majors from going after the market. Among MSOs, Comcast expects to have its service, Xfinity Home, rolled to most of its markets by year-end, while TW Cable already has its IntelligentHome service available in a handful of markets ahead of expected, broader launches. AT&T and Verizon have also developed their own set of services through partnerships or spurred along by recent acquisitions. (See Comcast Goes Big With Xfinity Home , TW Cable Picks iControl, Verizon's Over-the-Top Home Control and AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home.)

Build versus buy
Many have speculated that ADT could become an attractive M&A target for Comcast and turn the MSO into a market leader virtually overnight. That idea's been fueled by the fact that ADT's CEO (and former General Instrument Corp. and Motorola Inc. exec) Edward Breen resigned from the Comcast board last year. (See Will Moto Go Back to the Future?)

But Bernstein's analysts note that Breen's resignation is understandable because Comcast and ADT were becoming competitors. And that's not the only reason. "ADT's geographic footprint doesn't match that of any Cable operator, nor does its technology, nor does its principal focus on security rather than automation. An organic growth strategy is far, far more likely, in our view," the research firm concludes.

If that's the case, Comcast and its big service provider peers may have a long, patient march ahead if they expect to turn their budding home security plays into future profit-drivers.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:36:41 PM
re: Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers?


If it will indeed be an uphill battle for MSOs to make much of a dent to their bottom lines, then one has to wonder why so many service providers are still jumping into this business and making a go of it. What do they see that the Bernstein analysts don't?


And (shamless plug) that's something I'll certainly try to cover when I moderate a session on this home automation topic on May 23 at 11am ET at The Cable Show in Boston. Hope you can join us then, as we'll have execs on the panel from Comcast, iControl, TW Cable, Rogers Communications and Cox Communications.  JB

joanengebretson
50%
50%
joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:36:38 PM
re: Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers?


I always wonder about broadband providers' forays into the alarm business because they normally see it as a fourth or fifth service they can offer as part of a broadband bundle--but if you ask a traditional alarm company, they will generally tell you they would much rather use wireless communications than broadband. Their take is that if they touch the customer's broadband connection, the customer will perceive that they are the cause of any future problems they may have with their computer--and what customer doesn't have computer problems?


Perhaps the risk is a bit less for a broadband provider since they are more involved in the broadband connection to begin with. But there's also the issue of the unreliability (real or perceived) of broadband (a.k.a. Internet) networks. You may say wireless neworks are unreliable, too--and they are--but those issues are largely ameliorated when you put a transmitter in a place with good reception and leave it there.

Flook
50%
50%
Flook,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:36:32 PM
re: Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers?


Instead of trying to take over this market, why don't service provders see/explore how they can cooperate with existing home security companies in way that is beneficial for both and leads to further innovation and better home securit

skirstein
50%
50%
skirstein,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:31:47 PM
re: Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers?


I'm certainly no insider, but from the outside it certainly seems as though these additional services provide not only a barrier to exit / disincentive to switch; they also represent largely marginal additional revenues rather than having to pass a margin hurdle on their own.


 

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed