At last year’s National Show, Comcast Senior Vice President New Technology Steve Craddock quipped that home security is truly a "killer app" for cable – it’s nearly killed everyone who’s tried it. That may be changing.

Announced earlier this week, Blue Ridge Communications has entered a deal to offer InGrid Home Security services in northeastern Pennsylvania, including the large commuter/vacationer population in the Poconos. Mark Masenheimer, BlueRidge general manager, characterized home security as a natural follow-on to its video, voice and data services.

"Our partnership with InGrid is a perfect example of how we provide our customers complete technology solutions that offer convenience, an improved level of protection and the ability to remain connected to their homes,” he said in a statement.

Another company, uControl, is hinting about a home security, monitoring and automation product to be announced at the National Show. The company says it will be exhibiting at Cisco’s booth at the show. Challenges, solutions Traditionally, a large part of home security’s difficulty for cable has been bridging the gap between the coax and the telephony twisted-pair inside wiring. It’s not a huge problem if the customer has cable telephony – the EMTA is right there – but it’s rather more difficult when the sub still uses the incumbent telco’s service.

The InGrid system gets around this by communicating on the cable network rather than phone lines, said InGrid CEO Louis Stilp.

"We envision InGrid being used as part of bundles that cable companies put together, a ‘triple-play plus’ kind of scenario, where voice, video, data and security are being packaged together," he said. "We’ve put an awful lot of effort into the technology. We’ve got 16 patents on it. It’s a quite modern, fully digital system, the only system fully integrated with broadband."

The system also features multiple redundancy.

"If the broadband is down for any reason … we’ll dial out over your phone line," Stilp said. "You can also put one of our devices in a neighbor’s house, and we can use your neighbor’s phone line if you’re worried about your phone line being cut. We will be shipping, early summer, a GSM cellular backup device, so that if your broadband’s down, and your telephone line’s down, and your neighbor’s telephone line is down, we’ll also dial out over a GSM cellular connection."

The system is wireless, digital, two-way and designed to be self installed. That, plus the multiple redundancy, looked good to Blue Ridge, said Joe Lorah, Blue Ridge’s corporate director of marketing and customer service.

"That’s one of the reasons we chose InGrid, because of the simplicity of the system, both on the cable partner side and on our customer side," Lorah said. "Another reason we chose it is because of all the redundancy, and another reason is all the options. It’s basically very easy for our customers, it’s simple for our customers, and we think it’s an overall better security system than the traditional ones that are out there."

The company is wooing other cable ops as well, Stilp said.

"We’ve been working very hard with a number of cable companies," he said. "We launched the product a number of months ago, and we’ve been working with partners, and they’re now starting to reach the point where they’re coming to market. We’re very excited."

– Ron Hendrickson Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at http://www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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