Get Ready for $99 Security, Home Automation from Comcast/Xfinity

Xfinity (formerly Comcast) comes to Houston with $99 deals on home security and automation, and monthly service plans that cost almost $20 less than ADT Pulse.

Xfinity (Comcast) offers $99 install that includes: Window/Door Sensors (4), Motion Detector, Wireless Keypad, Keychain Remote, Security Panel, Touch Screen, Internet gateway, cellular backup
Julie Jacobson · November 5, 2010
Currently, the installation and security monitoring is performed by Xfinity itself, and is not contracted out to third-party monitoring stations or security installers, according to Douglas.

He says one key reason why Xfinity (then Comcast) launched the program in Houston is because of the legacy left by Time Warner Cable, which had offered security services in the area. Comcast took over the Houston Time Warner system in 2006.

“We kind of inherited some of that [security] experience,” Douglas says. “Today it’s very different, but we already have some infrastructure.”

Infrastructure is what the foray into home security is all about for Xfinity.

In a September 22 interview with Goldman Sachs, Comcast CFO Mike Angelakis addressed Xfinity’s excess capacity brought on by the system-wide upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0:

The key for us is, how do we utilize the network to grow our businesses? And as I went through the litany of our different businesses which are in different modes of growth, different cycles, we are also thinking about other businesses that can certainly help. We are testing things like home security and wholesale. We are testing things on video—we are doing lots of evaluations and tests. And our view is, we have an absolutely terrific network. The Project Cavalry or All-Digital has not only opened up bandwidth capabilities but provided a much better product both for our customer base and from an operational perspective.

So over time I think this Company has done an extraordinary job of continuing to transform itself and monetize that network. And I think that that mindset, that entrepreneurial spirit, is very evident within our organization, whether it’s VOD or IP or whatever we choose to focus on. I think we will look to figure out ways to monetize that and grow the business.

Of course, Xfinity also wants to stem attrition by cable subscribers (like me) who increasingly are looking for alternative video providers.

Comcast lost 275,000 basic cable subscribers during the third quarter of this year (pdf). The top five cable companies combined lost more than 500,000 subs. Year-to-date, Comcast has lost 622,000 video customers.

Xfinity, iControl and uControl

We still don’t know what products will be installed and supported by Xfinity. It is doubtful they know either.

What is almost certain is that they will utilize products and services from the new iControl, but who knows if that will be taken mostly from the uControl side or the original iControl side?

While iControl has a more fully baked solution, uControl employs ZigBee wireless technology, the preferred home-control protocol for the cable industry. iControl currently builds systems around the competitive Z-Wave mesh-networking protocol for home automation.

Xfinity has been showing iControl on its home security microsite. The home automation app on iTunes also shows screen shots from an iControl automation system.

Currently, Xfinity shows GE security panels on the home security page, but those products could be eliminated in the final offering. The uControl architecture could potentially exclude traditional security systems, instead relying on ZigBee security sensors communicating directly with an SMA hub.

SMA is cable speak for security, monitoring and automation. Currently, SMC Networks is building an SMA Internet gateway powered by uControl. Since SMC is a leading provider of customer premises equipment to the top cable MSOs, it seems likely that Xfinity will be adopting the solution for its security/automation customers.

Currently, Xfinity is showing the same iControl system—including GE Security and WiFi-enabled touchscreen—being used by ADT Pulse (top); however, it is likely that the ultimate solution will be based on uControl’s integrated ZigBee-enabled security touchscreen.

Get Ready for $99 Security, Home Automation from Comcast/Xfinity
iControl, uControl Merger: Implications for Cable, ZigBee, Home Automation
Ember enables uControl’s Next Generation ZigBee Home Security System (press release)
uControl, SMC Announce Home Security, Monitoring and Automation (SMA) Partnership (Press Release)
Architecture of ADT Pulse: What it Can & Can’t Do
One Month into ADT Pulse: Demand is High, Prices Mainstream
Why a Houston Homeowner Paid $12,000 for ADT Pulse System
ADT to Launch iControl Remote Management Service to the Masses
Sigma’s Acquisition of Zensys: Z-Wave in Settop Boxes?
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  About the Author

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

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  Article Topics

Security · News · iControl · uControl · Xfinity · Z-Wave · ZigBee · All Topics
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