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July 23, 2013
iControl Networks Inc. is fast-tracking third-party Android apps into the cable-powered smart home ecosystem -- quite literally. The company has announced the iControl Partner FastTrack Program, which certifies apps for inclusion in the iControl marketplace on Android devices.
As a result, iControl, which offers a home security and automation system run through its Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen device, will be able to exploit the huge, growing pool of Android app developers for the first time, greatly expanding its reach.
The company's initial third-party partners include Life360, MapQuest, News Republic, TuneIn and Weather Channel. These apps will all be offered for no charge.
iControl is dominating the North American cable market as a technology platform for home automation services. Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and numerous smaller operators all depend on iControl for new smart home services. That means the company is well positioned to connect app developers with the cable community. (See TW Cable Picks iControl, iControl Powers Rogers' Smart Home, and Small MSOs Go for iControl.)
It also means the company rightly sees an opportunity to host a whole new marketplace of apps accessed through the iControl interface.
Beyond the app marketplace, however, there is also the possibility for different third-party apps to be directly integrated with home automation services. The Weather Channel app could be connected with smart thermostats. The Life360 app could be tied into automatic lights that turn on when a family member gets close to home.
When asked about integration opportunities, an iControl spokesperson said, "The potential is there for the data from the weather app to be integrated -- if the user chooses -- so thermostats can be set based on weather forecast. This is a great example of a solution that an app developer could develop and, via the FastTrack App Developer Program, offer to leading service providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, etc."
iControl says the FastTrack program will certify Android apps for any touchscreen devices that support the iControl Converge solution.
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable
Senior Editor, Cable/Video
Mari Silbey is a senior editor covering broadband infrastructure, video delivery, smart cities and all things cable. Previously, she worked independently for nearly a decade, contributing to trade publications, authoring custom research reports and consulting for a variety of corporate and association clients. Among her storied (and sometimes dubious) achievements, Mari launched the corporate blog for Motorola's Home division way back in 2007, ran a content development program for Limelight Networks and did her best to entertain the video nerd masses as a long-time columnist for the media blog Zatz Not Funny. She is based in Washington, D.C.
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