Comcast to Open API for Xfinity Home Automation; Adds Nest, Arlo, Lutron, SkyBell, August, More
Comcast launches its own Xfinity Home automation platform separate from Icontrol. Lutron lighting, August smart locks, Netgear’s Arlo among first partners. Nest kinda sorta.
Julie Jacobson · May 5, 2015
Comcast today announced its first integration partners, including Lutron Caseta lighting controls, August Wi-Fi door locks, SkyBell video doorbell, and Rachio sprinkler controls. And also (although not in the press release): That cute little battery-powered Netgear Arlo wireless camera.
The list of initial partners includes some newer brands as well, including a wireless adapter for the car from Automatic, “smart jewelry” from Cuff, pet monitor from Whistle, and the Smart Alert Nightlight from Leeo, a plug-in device that listens for your CO or smoke detector and pings you when they blare.
There’s also Nest integration coming, but that’s a different twist, as discussed below.
Comcast wouldn’t be the first broadband service provider to open its SHaaS platform to third parties. Earlier this year, AT&T Digital Life invited Lutron, Samsung (cameras), LG (WebOS) and Qualcomm Life (2net for medical monitoring) to the ecosystem.
Xfinity’s offering today is modest at best, comprising a self-contained touchscreen-enabled security and home automation hub, some cameras, some ZigBee sensors, a thermostat, a Kwikset lock and that’s about it.
But you do get a nifty TV interface for all of those goodies, thanks to Comcast’s X1 (don’t-call-it-a-cable) box, which lets you view the temperature and monitor the baby from the couch. By voice if you’re using Comcast’s new X1 Remote Control App.
And that’s why Comcast has decided to do more home-automation development in-house, rather than through Icontrol’s “OpenHome” partner platform.
Comcast wants to offer the “same consumer experience on all screens,” says Dan Herscovici, SVP and general manager of Xfinity Home, in an interview with CE Pro.
Rather than waiting for Icontrol to integrate with Lutron Caseta lighting and motorized shade controls, for example, Comcast can and will just do it themselves. They have to do all the work anyway for the television interface and voice control, which Icontrol doesn’t do.
“We’re taking back the UI.”- Dan Herscovici, SVP and GM, Xfinity Home
Herscovici tells me that the new platform is all Comcast, not “built on” Icontrol.
“The platform was developed by Comcast through-and-through,” he says.
Comcast has been working on the service for quite some time, he explains. The mobile apps used today were created by Comcast, and the company plans to push its own GUI to the touchscreen hub as well.
“We’re taking back the UI,” Herscovici says.
The new partner products will be phased into the Xfinity Home mobile apps, and existing customers should enjoy a painless transition – just more devices to enroll and integrate in the Comcast cloud.
Comcast will continue to use Icontrol for life-safety and security, according to Herscovici.
Like the August lock and Caseta wireless hub, they’ll chat cloud-to-cloud like a “mini-engine that we plug into our [Comcast] ecosystem,” he says.
Greg Roberts, VP marketing for Icontrol, tells me, “In the past, Comcast has leveraged devices from the Icontrol ecosystem per the OpenHome Developer Program, and can continue to do so. However, they are launching their own developer program that will attract device and application developers that can work directly with Comcast that will interoperate with the Icontrol platforms under the Xfinity Home brand.”
Icontrol also powers security and home automation solutions from ADT (Pulse) and many of the top cable providers.
The company recently announced a new program, Icontrol One, to serve independent security dealers.
Want to Partner? And P.S. on Nest
Comcast will release an SDK sometime this year for integrating with Xfinity Home.
Interestingly, a postscript to the Comcast press release reads:
Separately, Comcast is developing an integration with Nest® Labs through the Works with Nest program.
Sounds like Nest doesn’t want Comcast to win the “Works With” wars.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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