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Spotlight on Security

DSC Taps iControl for Cloud-based Security, Home Automation

New Connect24 service offers remote monitoring/control of DSC security, surveillance, lighting, energy management, other Z-Wave home automation devices; will DSC become backbone of ADT Pulse?

For a few years, DSC has offered cloud-based security services through its partner Connect24.

But the existing service is fairly basic, with remote access to a home’s alarm system and surveillance cameras. It does not support home automation devices such as lighting controls and thermostats.

That will change this fall when Connect24 rolls out a new offering powered by iControl’s OpenHome platform, the same technology behind ADT Pulse.

The new service, introduced during the recent International Security Conference (ISC West) is fairly similar to ADT Pulse (view architecture), but instead of using GE and Honeywell for security, Connect24 uses DSC.

The DSC alarm panel, melded with iControl technology, communicates via IP or cellular networks to Connect24. With iControl running in the background, the Connect24 servers aggregate information from the home’s alarm system, surveillance cameras, and Z-Wave-enabled home automation devices including door locks, lights and thermostats.

Connect24 portal, powered by iControl, enables users to monitor and manage security/automation systems from a remote location. This demo during ISC West 2011 features a prototype interface. C24's Michael DeMille says the final product will have a "richer interface." Click to enlarge.
From there, consumers can monitor and manage their home systems via smart phones or any Web browser. They also can receive text alerts as specified, for example, when their kids disarm the security system after school (which might trigger the front-door camera to shoot a 10-second clip and email it to Mom and Dad).

SURVEY: Integrators, please answer our very brief survey for the forthcoming Home Security 2.0 supplement to CE Pro.

A professional security dealer installs the system, but after it is set up, the consumer can easily create their own schedules, email and text alerts, and scenes (HOME, AWAY, GOODNIGHT, VACATION, MOVIE TIME, etc.).

Connect24 is not a professional security monitoring service; it is only the portal for home monitoring and control. Dealers bring their own central station to the mix, and tack on an extra fee for the Connect24 service.

Connect24 has not set pricing for its service, which will launch this fall, says Michael DeMille, director of product management.

But, he says, “It will be competitive” with similar services, such as those currently offered by ADT (Pulse),, and eventually Honeywell and others.

DeMille also notes that the iControl technology – including IP and/or GSM communications modules – will be integrated into select DSC alarm panels, so a separate hub will not be required.

Currently, an “iHub” is required in the ADT Pulse ecosystem, but a more integrated solution is expected in the future.

The big question is: Will ADT continue to use GE and Honeywell for the Pulse system?

ADT, DSC and Connect24 are all owned by Tyco, which has invested millions in iControl. But then, so has GE, before sold its security division to UTC.

ADT already uses DSC alarm panels for its standard security installations.

Meanwhile, Honeywell is coming out with its own competitive security/automation service via Total Connect 2.0. And GE Security (now Interlogix under UTC) continues to partner with, which competes with iControl.

News Flash! Xanboo, an iControl competitor recently acquired by AT&T, just dumped all of its dealers. DSC was one of the security panels supported by Xanboo; now dealers can replace the offering with Connect24.

Control24/iControl ecosystem includes DSC security panel, Z-Wave devices, wireless cameras, Web portal

SURVEY: Integrators, please answer our very brief survey for the forthcoming Home Security 2.0 supplement to CE Pro.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Lighting · Security · Energy Management · Spotlight · Adt · Cloud · Tyco · Dsc · Isc · Icontrol · · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

4 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by John  on  04/12  at  04:23 PM

So let me see if I have this correct (please do correct me if I’m wrong). All these ‘new’ portal services (connect24, iControl, etc…) are pretty much doing the same thing HAI has been doing for years. Only they are trying to charge a monthly fee for the service now (HAI is still free after you buy the software). And they are not nearly as flexiable and have as much to offer as the HAI solutions and partners.
Oh, and they’re targeting lowend security dealers who have a hard enough time understanding door contacts.

I think Elk has/had something similar to HAI as well. Don’t remember if there were some other companies to.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  04/12  at  05:05 PM

Yes, indeed, John. HAI and Homeseer and Crestron and HAL and JDS and AMX and every other decent home automation vendor has offered these capabilities and more ... for quite some time.

The big difference is that the up-front investment is higher with controllers that have Web servers and the requisite processing power built in.

All of these mass-market solutions, on the other hand, have very light-weight gateways at the customer’s home, and the heavy lifting is done by massive servers in the cloud—which share the burden across thousands and thousands of users.

HAI and the other vendors with excellent feature-rich controllers have never had designs on the ultra-mass market (security dealers in particular), and they currently don’t have the cloud-based architecture to do it.

HAI does plan to hit this market with with its forthcoming ZigBee energy management solution; Control4 is definitely aiming for the masses as well. Neither, that I can see, plans to focus on security applications.

Posted by Jules  on  04/13  at  03:05 PM


“heavy lifting is done by massive servers in the cloud—which share the burden across thousands and thousands of users.”

You make it sound like there are thousands of powerful computers in the “cloud” - but I think that given the actual message traffic between the home gateway and the server(s), it’s likely a small number of servers, and perhaps even a single server, per region/supplier.

Granted you need to centralize information, maintain uptime, etc. but your description is likely overreaching.


Posted by  on  02/02  at  05:41 PM

Concerning the above DSC system. After a year, how well has it performed? Also, I sell & install DSC but which control panels are equipped with the iControl features? I don’t see anything about this on there DSC website, even within the dealer zone. I wished I had installed an Elk M1gold in my own house. If this iControl doesn’t come together, I’m switching my house system and product offering to Elk. It is proven.

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