May 7, 2012
Would You Trust AT&T To Protect Your Home? Preheat Your Oven?
John Neumann for RedOrbit.com
Not content to be just a mobile portal to your cellphone and cable provider, AT&T looks to begin selling a home-monitoring service called Digital Life. The service will offer a range of home security and automation services through a system that can include video cameras, sensors, lighting controls and thermostats.
The service also includes 24-hour security call-center monitoring, AT&T said ahead of the service´s debut today at the International CTIA Wireless event in New Orleans.
Home automation and security have already seen inroads by Comcast and Verizon and Steven Winoker, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, claims only about 23 percent of US homes have security systems, so there is room for growth.
Even fewer have automation systems for controlling appliances, lights, heating and cooling and the communications companies are betting that people will want to talk to their homes while they are away. The hardware was developed by Xanboo, a company AT&T acquired in 2010, reports Scott Moritz of Bloomberg Business Week.
It´s a very profitable business, Winoker told the Associated Press (AP), but it´s not big enough to significantly affect the earnings of a company of AT&T´s size even if it´s successful, given that it´s a relatively small market. The biggest player in the field is ADT, but it has only 25 percent of the market. Many smaller companies make up the rest, according to Winoker.
AT&T plans to sell Digital Life nationally to anyone with a high-speed internet connection beginning in the next few months. You´ll be able to “try before you buy” at an AT&T store or through other unspecified AT&T distribution channels, and no matter your current wireless provider, you´ll still be able to get in on the service.
That is, of course, if you live in Dallas or Atlanta where trial runs are being provided. Costs for the system were not made available as of this time. AT&T actually goes so far as to say “there are no capacity limits to the number and variety of devices [they] can connect to and integrate,” since it´s an all-digital system.
AT&T engineers are also working on ways of registering who might be approaching a home through bio-acoustical transmission (the detection of vibrations in the bones through sensors in a phone or wrist watch). Digital Life could then decide whether or not to automatically unlock the door or announce a guest.
Your vehicle is also a target of AT&T technology, writes Jordan Crook of TechCrunch. Got My Stuff is a system that scans the car for a list of pre-determined and RFID-tagged items to see if you´ve remembered them. The idea is that a customizable dashboard would be available via an app across multiple devices.
It has long been written about that your home, appliances and car would be able to interact and ease some of the burdens of modern life, however it appears that we are getting ever closer to such a reality. Are you ready for your home and car to make decisions for you?