April 26, 2013
AT&T Digital Life To Offer Home Security, Automation
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
AT&T is expanding its product offering to include home security and home automation. The telecom company introduced AT&T Digital Life on Friday. The service will initially roll out in 15 cities, with later expansion likely.
The Digital Life system combines home automation and security. Home automation includes actions such as turning on lights and granting remote access to the house via a computer, smartphone or tablet. Security includes around the clock monitoring to ensure safety while residents are in the home or away.
"AT&T Digital Life is an innovative service which wants to manage the entire home automation and security process," said industry analyst Jeff Kagan. "It offers security and alarm features, lets you manage heating and air, and so many other features easily from your home or from your smartphone app."
The first cities to receive AT&T Digital Life service include Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia; Riverside, California, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and select areas of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas. By the end of 2013, AT&T hopes to offer the service in up to 50 markets.
The security component offers a line to US-based monitoring centers, which will contact the home if a sensor is tripped. Centers can also help customers personalize the system to program which alerts they want to receive, and the best way to send those alerts. For example, one customer might want the alert sent to a phone, while another might prefer an email.
"We know how important security is to our customers, and this was our top priority when we set out to build Digital Life," said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of AT&T Digital Life, in a corporate statement. "People rely on their mobile devices more than ever, so Digital Life offers an easy and convenient way to secure their homes, protect their families and simplify their lives from virtually anywhere."
AT&T Digital Life competes directly with Xfinity Home, a similar security and home automation service launched by Comcast last year. The service also competes with home security services such as ADT and Vivint, which focus on home security, but have started to offer more automation services such as controlling the thermostat, and remote access via smartphone or Internet.
"This is the kind of new and innovative service we can expect from the wireless industry going forward," said Kagan. "This is an exciting opportunity for AT&T, and a competitive threat to the traditional home security and automation businesses. I think we can expect to see much more innovation in this space thanks to this move from AT&T."
In addition to security, Digital Life gives users more control over their home. From a smartphone, a user can turn on lights, change the environmental settings in the home, and possibly start dinner if the right appliances and sensors are on the system.
"This service connects every part of a consumer's home to the AT&T Mobility wireless network. Home automation and security is the next generation of services we will see AT&T offer across the country," said Kagan. "The service is easily controlled by users and they can customize the system to their needs. This includes security cameras and sensors and professionally monitored and managed by AT&T."
Digital Life is offered in two package levels: Simple Security and Smart Security. Simple Security includes 24/7 home monitoring, 24-hour battery backup, a wireless keypad, keychain remote recessed sensors and an indoor siren for $29.99 a month plus $149.99 for installation. The Smart Security package adds up to three sensors such as motion sensor, carbon monoxide sensor, glass break sensor, smoke sensor or a takeover kit. The cost starts at $39.99 per month plus $249.99 for installation.
Additional sensors can be added for an additional monthly charge. Packages include those focused on cameras, energy, doors, water detection, and a water control package that can detect leaks and shut water off when necessary.
"AT&T's Digital Life service is fully featured with one of the market's best selection of pre-packaged bundles and connected devices. With straightforward and competitive prices, the AT&T value proposition will leave the company in a good position to capture market share in the growing connected home market," said Larry Hettick, contributing analyst, Consumer Services at Current Analysis, in an AT&T corporate statement.