Broadband services

Echostar Preps 'Sage' Smart Home

Anxious not to miss out on the home automation trend, EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS) is getting ready to unveil its new "Sage" smart home offering for service providers in early 2015.

Dave Zatz from Zatz Not Funny points our attention to a sneak preview of Sage that Echostar offered at the IBC show in Amsterdam in September. Just yesterday, a new doorbell sensor from Echostar -- presumably designed for the Sage platform -- crossed through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing system.

Sage is built for do-it-yourself installation and supports a range of devices, including connected light bulbs and switches, motion sensors, thermostats, smart locks and security cameras. The publication Rethink Technology Research caught a demo of the system and reported that Sage also includes ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi radios for machine-to-machine communication.

According to Echostar's product sheet, Sage will allow consumers to create custom scenarios that automate different sets of smart home functions at different times. A user could build a morning wake-up scenario, for example, or a nighttime security check. The system can also be configured to send multiple alerts to different devices in the event that a sensor is triggered.

True to its pay-television heritage, Echostar is integrating Sage technology into a TV set-top box, which strongly suggests that the offering will be sold through service providers. (Note: Echostar is still closely affiliated with Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH).) Smart home functions can be controlled with a TV remote, and the Sage user interface (UI) pops up on a subscriber's TV display. Screenshots of the UI depict footage from a Sage-connected security camera rendered in the right-hand corner of a TV screen over a live video stream.

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Echostar is also supporting Sage service in a non-set-top device. The company's standalone hub comes with an HDMI in/out port, an Ethernet port and two USB ports.

Of course, Echostar is far from the only company pitching smart home technology in the consumer TV market. Cable companies have widely deployed the Icontrol Networks Inc. smart home platform, while AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) uses Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) technology for its Digital Life service, and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is getting ready to launch a new smart home offering built on a platform from Greenwave Systems. (See Verizon Smart Home Service Inches Closer.)

Recently, TV manufacturer Samsung Corp. also scooped up the startup SmartThings, with the goal of further expanding into the smart home space. Both service providers and retail brands see smart home technology as a gateway to the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) market, which will ultimately include connected cars, digital signs, medical devices and more. (See IoT Alert: Samsung Snaps Up SmartThings .)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

Ariella 10/13/2014 | 3:39:09 PM
Re: Battle @kq4ym good point; it's easier to start with an existing list of customers to market to.
kq4ym 10/13/2014 | 9:35:24 AM
Re: Battle The cable and satellite companies would seem to have a leg up in marketing to it's existing customers. Including these smart features in the boxes or offering add ons to it's customer lists would be a farily easy marketing job compared to the many other smart home providers who have to obtain leads separately. Whether the market is ripe for it now is another question, but a marketing test by Echostar and Dish would be fairly straight forward it would seem.
RethinkAlex 10/13/2014 | 6:03:00 AM
Subscribe to RIoT for more IoT news Hello all!


I'm the editor RIoT, the publication that checked out Sage at IBC.


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Thanks Mari
danielcawrey 10/10/2014 | 1:54:09 PM
Battle The home is most certainly going to become a battlefield of sorts for smart technologies. I think that the winners in this fight are going to be the service providers that already have made in-roads into the home. 

What's interesting is that cable providers are probably ripe to offer these services. They are seeing decling in cable and VoIP subscriptions, but smart technology services can help replace these losses. 
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