Security Platforms/Tools

Comcast Invests in Home Control

10:55 AM -- Comcast Interactive Capital , the VC arm of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), is throwing some weight behind "broadband home management" by participating in Icontrol Networks Inc. 's $23 million Series C round, extending that vendor's funding total to more than $45 million. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), one of Comcast's big suppliers, joined the round as well. (See Comcast, Cisco Invest in iControl.)

The investment doesn't guarantee deployment, of course, but iControl could fit into the Comcast plan by allowing the MSO to offer a suite of broadband-fueled home security and energy management apps.

Of course, the same was being said about eight years ago when Comcast -- along with several other MSOs, including Rogers Communications Inc. (NYSE: RG; Toronto: RCI), Charter Communications Inc. , Cox Communications Inc. , Shaw Communications Inc. , and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) -- jumped in to help a startup called @Security Broadband Corp. land a $45 million second round of funding. Like iControl, @Security hoped to provide home security services over high-speed broadband networks.

But not much came of those efforts, at least where cable was concerned. Cox, however, did complete an "alpha" trial in Las Vegas that vetted @Security's control panel, video transmission gear, multiple video cameras, and window sensors. Later on Comcast tested out the vendor's "SafeVillage" service in Sarasota, Fla. And that was about it as far as the public disclosures went.

The story may be much different this time around. For starters, Comcast has cable modem services deployed across the board, so there's a footprint there for what iControl's trying to bring to the table. On top of that, cable's starting to see high-speed Internet subscription growth slow, so MSOs will now be looking for ways to boost margins and create new revenue lines for their high-speed Internet services.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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