Home security and home control solutions have been available in the United States for many years, but to a somewhat limited customer segment because of the high cost of the systems and equipment. As the technology has evolved and the services become more user-friendly and less costly, consumer demand for connected home security solutions is growing. At the same time, U.S. consumers' willingness to buy these services from a broadband service provider is also rising. Comcast introduced its XFINITY Home security and monitoring solution in June 2011 to address the significant revenue potential for these services among its broadband customer base.
Leveraging its existing XFINITY branded customer web portal and quick-and-easy installation model, Comcast is able to provide a low-cost, easy home installation, and an apps-and-touchscreen-based user interface with the potential of supporting additional value-added services. The broadband-based security and home control solution offers:
• Traditional home security features such as professionally monitored 24-hour police and fire alarm protection
• Value-added features such as secure live-streaming video surveillance, carbon monoxide monitoring, and the ability to manage utilities such as thermostats, lights, and smoke detectors
In addition, the "connected home" solution enables major service differentiators, including:
• Users may customize and automate setting and scenarios through an easy-to-use apps-and-widgets-based touchscreen user interface
• Customers can access, monitor, and set rules and alerts for control settings when away from home via a web customer portal or via the security app for the iPhone available from iTunes.
• Service allows customers to access features of other Comcast services such as voicemail as well as widgets that provide news, weather, and other information.
Primarily broadband-based, the solution also uses WiFi connectivity to enable wireless video surveillance. But to address the two main vulnerabilities of broadband-based security (power and network outages), each XFINITY Home system includes a wireless modem, which provides 24-hour backup battery power and cellular backup. The mobile network-based wireless modem and airtime runs primarily on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks and is provided by an M2M aggregator partner.
Home Communications Hub
The Comcast solution provides continuous connectivity to the home, the hub of family activities. The service provides premises protection, automatically dispatching fire and police in an emergency or when alarms are triggered. But Comcast also emphasizes the value of (and provides the tools for) monitoring a range of activities, from confirming when the children arrive home to knowing if a package or your dog walker arrived on time. XFINITY Home also integrates with other Comcast services such as accessing Comcast VoiceMail through the home touchscreen user interface.