Comcast is now rolling out the service in portions of Philadelphia, Portland, Ore.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Sarasota/Naples, Fla.; and Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn. The MSO expects to debut it in additional markets before the end of 2011.
The broadband-fueled service, based on Icontrol Networks Inc. 's technology platform, covers traditional home security features, while adding in video surveillance and the ability to adjust and monitor several home functions, including thermostats and lights. Customers can access the service remotely via a Web portal or through a new free app for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) devices. (See iControl, uControl Strike Merger Deal .)
The MSO's Preferred Package starts at $39.95 per month, and includes remote access, home automation service, video monitoring and hardware components such as a touch screen, a key-chain remote, a wireless keypad, motion detectors and four window/door sensors. A stripped-down Basic Package features elements such as 24/7 monitoring, motion detectors and two window/door sensors. Comcast says customers will also be eligible to get a 20 percent discount on their homeowners' insurance. This page offers a side-by-side feature comparison.
Why this matters
Home security and the concept of the "smart home" represent a new revenue stream for Comcast, and give the MSO another way to extract value from its Docsis infrastructure and make it harder for customers to jump to other service providers. The service is coming into play as cable operators are struggling to keep video subscribers and starting to see high-speed Internet and VoIP sub growth taper off.
But it won't be alone in the market. In addition to trying to penetrate a market already dominated by home security specialists like ADT, it will also be contending with new, similar home security offers from rivals such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T).
Cable, meanwhile, is already taking an industry-wide technology vector on home security. CableLabs , for example, has developed a PacketCable specification enhancement that addresses a unified approach for things like signaling, provisioning, service management and quality of service. It's also working with OpenSMA on the development of interoperable home security devices.
Read more about how service providers are pursuing broadband-based home security services:
- Comcast Homes In on Security Services
- AT&T Dives Deeper Into the Smart Home
- CableLabs Pours Home Security Foundation
- CableLabs Specs Added to 'Smart Grid'
- Verizon Gambles on Home Automation
- Comcast Invests in Home Control
- Deal Watch: Motorola Heads for 4Home
- iControl, uControl Strike Merger Deal