Comcast Goes Big With Xfinity Home
The rollout goal for that product, recently rechristened as Xfinity Home, "is to virtually deploy it to the entire country this year," says Mitch Bowling, Comcast's SVP and GM of new businesses. Comcast's systems pass about 52.5 million homes.
Comcast debuted the product (then called Xfinity Home Security) in June 2010 in Houston. It's since expanded it to its hometown of Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; Sarasota/Naples, Fla.; parts of New Jersey; Indianapolis; Denver; Seattle; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; and pockets of Delaware. (See Comcast Homes In on Security Services and Comcast Unlocks Home Security Service.)
Comcast is looking to cash in with premium packages, starting at $24.95 (plus $199 for installation), that ride the MSO's broadband pipe to handle home security functions and other features that, for example, let users remotely control the home's lighting and locks.
Comcast won't say how many customers have signed on so far, but Bowling says the Preferred package, which runs $39.95 per month, has been popular and that many of those customers are adding video cameras to the package (Xfinity Home's video monitoring component is another $4.95 per month).
Comcast is expanding its Xfinity Home footprint as security and monitoring services morph from a differentiator to a table stake, now that broadband competitors such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which has plans to sell its home security product outside the FiOS footprint, enter the picture as well. (See Verizon Expands Home-Monitoring Service Plans.)
That's causing operators like Comcast to add even more features, the latest coming from a partnership with EcoFactor Inc. : a home thermostat management system that aims to reduce energy use by way of a proprietary system that relies on real-time weather data. (See Comcast Connects With EcoFactor.)
"It's taking thermostat management to the cloud," Bowling says. He's hopeful that Comcast, which is integrating EcoFactor's systems with its Icontrol Networks Inc. -powered Xfinity Home service, will launch the feature by early 2013 or sooner.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable