AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is making itself at home in the connected home this week, announcing a partnership with Elster Group for smart meters and confirming that it has acquired Xanboo Inc., a pioneer in the home automation market. (See AT&T, Elster Team for Smart Grid.)

AT&T confirmed its purchase of longtime partner Xanboo to CEPro, which broke the news on Monday. Xanboo enables Internet-based remote management for home security, thermostats, and other devices, and AT&T notes that Xanboo's monitoring services are "a natural extension of our high-speed Internet, video and voice offerings and a good fit for our wireless services."

Through its partnership with Elster, announced today, AT&T will be targeting utilities for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), supplied by Elster but accomplished over AT&T's wireless data network. The carrier says it has been rapidly gaining momentum in the smart-grid space, and that the partnership will help it expand its offerings beyond North America.

Why this matters
The home automation and energy space has seen a flurry of partnerships and M&A lately. Most recently, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) announced plans to acquire 4HomeMedia Inc. , a home automation company Verizon Wireless invests in. Meanwhile, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) partners Icontrol Networks Inc. and uControl Inc. recently merged their home-automation businesses. (See Deal Watch: Motorola Heads for 4Home and iControl, uControl Strike Merger Deal .)

Service providers are eager to leverage their existing communications infrastructure to the home to offer value-added -- and potentially revenue-generating -- services to their consumers. They are looking to do this on their own, through the Internet or fiber-based TV services, for example, or through partnerships with utilities in which they act as the pipe provider.

Both routes are relatively uncharted territory for them, hence the M&A and partnering sprees of late. The recent wave of action suggests the space is poised to be a bigger focus for communication service providers going into next year.

For more
For more on service provider stakes in the battle for the smart home, check out the following stories:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:16:25 PM
re: AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home

We're talking a lot of potential services and devices being added to the network. Granted, it's much more bursty data and not a constant strain, but I hope CSPs are prepared to handle it all.

spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:16:24 PM
re: AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home

Best Buy has been going around with an interesting presentation that the apps need to periodically remind the person the consequences to the overall expense, resulting in greater motivation on the part of the subscriber to take advantage of them.

Mark, Telecom Pragmatics

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:16:21 PM
re: AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home


Yeah too bad we don't have an app that kills all that parasitic power drawn by devices....



sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:16:21 PM
re: AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home

I think that's a good idea. Cost savings will be a bigger motivator for consumers than energy efficiency/greenness.

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