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Security Platforms/Tools

CTIA: Digital Life Pays Off for AT&T

LAS VEGAS -- CTIA -- AT&T Inc.'s push into home security and automation is paying off, as customers are lured in by security but end up buying additional services, the head of the new Digital Life division said Monday.

Digital Life has been available for less than a month in 15 markets, but President Kevin Peterson said he's been thrilled with the take-up so far. In his keynote address at Parks Associates' pre-CTIA connected home conference, he wouldn't divulge what the average Digital Home customer was spending, but said it was more than AT&T expected. (See AT&T Launches Digital Life Service in 15 Markets.)

The carrier offers two baseline security packages: Simple Security, basic security services for $30 per month plus a $150 installation fee, or Smart Security, starting at $40 per month plus $250 for installation with optional home automation features. Peterson said that most consumers initially sign up for Smart Security but eventually add a home automation service as well.

"Most sign up for two packages," he said, adding that they decide to do so because "it looks simple, and they're willing to give it a shot."

AT&T's home automation services range from an energy package to control appliances, thermostats and lighting to automated door locks to a leak detection and water shut-off service. But Peterson said the most added add-on has been the camera package, which records live video inside and outside the home for an additional $10 per month, plus equipment and installation. Energy monitoring and controlling door locks, both $5 monthly add-ons, follow closely behind, he added.

AT&T also used the show to announce seven more Digital Life markets: Baltimore, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. It's on track to reach its goal of covering 50 markets by the end of the year.

AT&T doesn't have a fixed-line presence in all of these markets, unlike competitors Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., but Peterson said that hasn't been a hindrance. AT&T customers have primarily been signing up for the service in retail stores, which AT&T has across its wireless footprint. They are able to use their existing home broadband provider, although the carrier is aiming to integrate Digital Life with its other services, like U-Verse where available. (See Services Battle Shifts to the Home.)

AT&T is also looking to add partners and, of course, add more services. Peterson said it will happen quickly, but it won't be a free for all. A criticism of Digital Life is that it doesn't integrate with other connected-home devices already on the market, but Peterson said AT&T will certify partners in that area. For example, he said he's talking to "a blind guy" [Ed. Note: presumably of the window covering variety] about a potential partnership.

"It's an open platform; it's just open on our own terms today," he quipped.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, LightReading

lrmobile_Stevery 5/21/2013 | 8:37:58 PM
re: CTIA: Digital Life Pays Off for AT&T > But Peterson said the most added add-on has been the camera package, which records live video inside

Oh geez. I know where this is going.
MordyK 5/21/2013 | 2:23:25 PM
re: CTIA: Digital Life Pays Off for AT&T This seems really interesting especially the open part. The realities in non-AT&T markets where they don't have an existing network of installation and service techs should be interesting, and I think will define its overall market success.
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