A recent poll of broadband operators deploying home automation/home control services regarding the types of services they plan to offer now and in the future along with delivery methods, technologies, suppliers and protocols found they start slowly and then build up a portfolio.

“While the home-automation market is still young, major operators, including Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and China Telecom, have already made public announcements regarding home automation services and some have begun initial rollouts, and many more will jump into the game this year,” predicts Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and video at Infonetics Research. “The potential customer loyalty and incremental revenue attached to home automation services, particularly home security and home energy management, are too enticing for any operator to pass up.”

He continues, “Many broadband operators are starting out small, offering remote control of lighting, doors, thermostats, audio, video, and security systems. The goal will then be to layer on additional revenue-generating services, such as a full-fledged home-security system.”

Other survey findings include:

>> The top two reasons broadband providers are deploying home-automation services are to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce subscriber churn.
>> Home-security service is the most popular home-control service offered today, and it will remain a top home-automation service.
>> Monitoring of appliances and monitoring of whole-home energy usage will see the biggest growth among home-automation services between now and 2013.
>> While the bulk of Infonetics’ survey respondents are fixed-line operators and service providers, there is strong evidence to suggest mobile operators are also looking to muscle in on the home-automation opportunity.
>> Wi-Fi is the most popular wireless technology used by operators to deliver home-automation services, but Zigbee and Z-Wave are growing fastest, seen by many as better options because they are low-power, mesh-networking technologies. Zigbee chips are being installed in many smart-energy meters in North America, and many companies developing smart-home adapters are using them.
>> Control4 and Honeywell are viewed by respondent operators as the top home-automation equipment and software suppliers.

In separate but related news, Comcast continues to roll out its Xfinity Home service, this time in its metro Denver service area. Xfinity Home offers traditional home security components like 24/7 police and fire-alarm protection along with the ability to adjust digital thermostats, to turn lights on or off, and to watch secure live streaming video from wireless cameras while away from home. The service also comes with the Xfinity Security app, available free on Apple’s iTunes App Store.

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