Broadband services

Suddenlink Sounds Alarm for Smart Homes

Smart home platform provider Alarm.com has snapped up Suddenlink as the first major cable customer for its hosted security and home automation services.

Suddenlink Communications , the seventh-largest US cable operator, deployed its Connected Home solution last September, but only today revealed that Alarm.com is the technology partner behind the offering. Suddenlink's solution includes professional security monitoring, as well as home automation options for controlling doors, lights, locks and more. (See Suddenlink Switches on Home Automation.)

In an interview with Light Reading, Alarm.com Vice President of Ecosystem Alliances Roy Perry said that he sees growing opportunity in the cable market "from Suddenlink down." Although Icontrol Networks Inc. has neatly sewn up many of the largest North American MSOs as customers, Perry pointed out that there are still plenty of small to mid-tier cable companies that haven't launched smart home services yet. (See CES Redux: State of the Smart Home Wars and Betting on Smart Homes.)

"We've just signed up a number of cable operators over the last few months," Perry said. He added that he believes the trend will accelerate, and that "the market is wide open for competitive solutions."

Since 2000, Alarm.com has built its business by selling through a network of independent dealers. iControl, on the other hand, has dominated the cable market since signing Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) as a customer in 2011. Now it appears that both companies are encroaching on one another's territory. While iControl recently launched the One Dealer program targeting smaller smart home services dealers, Alarm.com is now selling directly into cable companies.

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Perry argued that what's unique to Alarm.com is the company's ability to take advantage of both economies of scale and economies of scope. Whether a customer wants to offer energy management, elder care or property monitoring, he said, Alarm.com can easily bundle up and manage the necessary devices and applications because it has the platform and experience to do so.

Perry also emphasized that Alarm.com does not charge upfront fees for customers. Instead, cable companies can pay monthly fees on a per-subscriber basis. That pricing model minimizes risk for operators, and Perry thinks it will galvanize smaller cable providers to enter the smart home market. He mentioned that Alarm.com is already working with the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) to develop a program for smaller and independent cable providers.

For Suddenlink's part, SVP and Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Jerry Dow said in a press release, "Quality and dependability are critical to living up to the superior service we promise our customers. Alarm.com's expertise helps us deliver on that promise.”

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story said that Alarm.com's costs are lower than its competitors, but a spokesperson clarified that the company is not in a position to compare pricing or costs.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

mhhf1ve 3/13/2015 | 7:37:00 PM
Re: Hard numbers.... I always thought of these home security services as "loyalty programs" for ISPs (usually cablecos) to keep customers from easily switching to a telco. With more people cutting their cableTV services and just getting internet, it's easier to switch between cable and telco internet access if you only have one service being provided. That's why there are all of the triple play packages to keep subscribers from switching by making the barriers to switch higher. 

Also, I think these cable-based security systems are smart if telcos are letting their copper phone infrastructure decay... because before VOIP, home security systems required a landline for 911 notifications. Not so much anymore, so cablecos can enter the market more easily.
KBode 3/12/2015 | 12:24:03 PM
Hard numbers.... Are any ISPs offering hard subscriber numbers for those signing up for security and home automation services? I'm very curious if they're actually seeing some traction in this market or if this is a lot of smoke but little actual consumer interest.
Ariella 3/12/2015 | 12:03:03 PM
subscriber If they pay on a subscription basis, are they locked into a contract?
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