Broadband service providers changing home security landscape

iControl Networks home management software platform to power Comcast's Xfinity Home Security service

"Right now, what you see for the first time is Comcast starting with a similar replica of the security solution that the security industry is evolving to," Johnson said. "In general, the utility industry is looking for a way to effectively manage energy consumption. And there are a number of partnerships we are excited about with utility companies and broadband service providers and that will start with things as simple as the broadband service providers helping with the installation of thermostats to facilitate energy management applications."

Johnson referenced the second step to be some co-marketing opportunities. "There are several utility companies that are going to help security companies and service providers market the broadband home management platform and that means marketing a home security and energy management solution," he continued. "The third phase of this will be opportunities for the utility companies to subsidize a portion of the capital equipment for the thermostat cost that goes into a home." So while the broadband service provider may pay for the bulk of the home security solution, i.e., the capital equipment that goes into the home, "we think the utility company might pay for a portion of that as well," Johnson confirmed.

And while users today may have difficulty discerning the differences in the home security platforms provided by the number of players in the residential space, Johnson confirmed that they indeed are very different under the hood.

"There will be things that cable companies will leverage in the platform that are different than the things that ADT will leverage in the platform," said Johnson. "Consumers will start to see the differences over time but today, the interactive platform and the capabilities it provides-such as viewing cameras remotely, lighting and thermostat control-are roughly similar from a consumer standpoint."

The iControl partner program was started to create a very wide ecosystem of application and hardware partners, according to Johnson. "When we started, we didn't try to predict what the next really cool applications would be," he stated. "We focused on creating a platform that is something consumers can't live without. Now, we need the biggest and best brands to help us bring this technology to market. ADT, Visonic, Technicolor and now Comcast are all huge parts of that initiative. And we will continue to expand the iControl program to other hardware and application partners."

For integrators and those dealers for existing home security companies, these platforms are just another application that they have the opportunity to sell. "And we believe that increases the market opportunity-not only the revenue that comes out of the homes but the number of homes that are interested in the service," said Johnson. "It increases the opportunity for the integrators."

And Johnson foresees opportunities for the integrators to partner with some of the broadband service providers to help them do the installations as they become more complex, such as in instances when homeowners may want more devices and applications as they become available.

"But the integrators need to get trained on each of the platforms and become familiar with the different devices that need to be installed," Johnson concluded.