Cable Tech

Cable's Next Big OTT Battle

Cable is betting big on the smart home market. With Comcast Corp. leading the charge, cable operators across the US are expanding into home security and automation services, envisioning the promise of new customers and revenue growth.

However, for all the excitement in the cable industry, the smart home market is shaping up to be a major battleground.

Cable operators have to compete not only against the well-known ADT Corp. brand in the managed security space, but also against every company that pops up at retail selling smart thermostats and lighting control solutions. With the Internet as a foundation, any hardware company can build its own home automation solution out of a series of IP-connected devices.

So, who wants a smart home? Will retailers or service providers win the market? Where's the demarcation line between security and automation? Read on for Light Reading interviews and analysis in this feature story in our Prime Reading section.

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

Telco 8/27/2013 | 6:06:51 PM
Re: Compatibility issues In High School (1976), a friend of mine, his brother owned Dial One in Southern Cal.  Operating like ADT does today, there was a lot of consolidation of sensors to status boards.  I was interning at Raytheon occassionally helping my buddy with alert dialers on the phone lines.  By 1986 when I was working at a Telco, we bought into some regional security firms, locking their deployment models into our networks.  By 1998 I joined a telco that was training Ameritech on it's model.  Two years ago I was working on Comcast deployment.  The one common thread is my first CO security sensor panel; manufactured out of New Jersey was the device I found at all the companies from 1976 through to present.  I see the same circuit boards in ADT devices but have started to lose what happened to the Intellectual property. I know in 1992 when I went to buy the panels for our telco, the manufacture said it could no-longer be bought directly, ADT had purchased the manufacturing, IP and operations.  I suspect new entrants will have to come out with new technologies to effectively break into the market place.
mendyk 8/27/2013 | 2:33:47 PM
Re: Compatibility issues This is fast becoming the Mishmash Era. Best get used to it.
MordyK 8/27/2013 | 1:06:20 PM
Re: Compatibility issues For a market that currently has a penetration of les than 1 percent, there is plenty of head room available. If done right I would say that you can rapidly get to a 10 percent penetration by those early adopters that have been eyeing the capabilities but put off by its cost, and then getting a mass market adoption.

The financial side of the market is a bit more complex, as it includes many variabilities and players. For example onemay choose some basic functions and not utilize allpossibilities.

Other factors include whether devices and component will come from existing players or new ones as in the case of Nest. All I will say is that it can be an exciting market for all participant with tremedous upside.

To me its a question of when and not if. There is a bottled up set of expectations and with a re-educated generation of tech awareness enabled by the iPhone, people are actually more comfortable with a connected home and aware of its capabilities.

I'll leave the numbers to the analysts :)
albreznick 8/27/2013 | 12:54:09 PM
Re: Compatibility issues Can you put any numbers on the massiveness of the market? And what do you think is the sweet spot for pricing?
MordyK 8/27/2013 | 12:39:49 PM
Re: Compatibility issues There are groups trying to create standards but the question is whether the telco's and cable co's along with any competitors decide to adopt them or go solo. The market as it stands now perceives  the digital/connected home as a pretty luxury requirement due to the cost, but if the cost of devices came down to just a slight premium over "non-smart" devices and the functionality was right and easy to use, I am fairly confident that the market is massive.

IMHO it all really hinges on the various approaches taken by the champions of the digital home.
albreznick 8/27/2013 | 12:31:34 PM
Re: Compatibility issues Good question. We could end up with a real mishmash of devices and standards. I wonder if there is any group that would standardize all this. I also wonder how big the market is for home automation and home security services. I suspect we'll be following up on all this.

MordyK 8/27/2013 | 11:40:10 AM
Compatibility issues I wonder how this is going to play out. will there be a common hardware and interface stack across providers/competitors such as telco's and cable co'sor will everyonego their own way which will leave a dearth of compatible devices and those that exist will be costly.
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