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Has Comcast/Xfinity Picked a Home Control Platform?

Cable giant has waffled between several vendors since announcing a home security and automation system, but we believe it has picked the winner. iControl, uControl or some other control?!

Xfinity Home Security in Houston and Elsewhere: Same hand models, different systems
Julie Jacobson · April 18, 2011

Since announcing its new home security and automation system in 2010, Xfinity (formerly Comcast) has said little about its service, including whose products the cable giant would use.

That hasn’t changed, but at least there there has been some movement from Xfinity in the past month.

Comcast.com/homesecurity used to feature only home control systems based on iControl – just like the systems offered by ADT Pulse.

Recently, however, Xfinity began showing products based on uControl – the organization that “merged” with iControl in November 2010.

Enter the Xfinity Home Security site, and you have two choices: HOUSTON and ELSEWHERE IN THE U.S.


ZigBee is a fine RF protocol for home control, but may not be the best solution today for the low-power, low-cost, aesthetic requirements of home security systems. PLUS: check out CE Pro’s exclusive illustration of a would-be Xfinity/uControl ecosystem. (Click here for story - CE Pro Plus subscription required)

HOUSTON still shows the old iControl site, but if you visit ELSEWHERE IN THE U.S. you get a whole lot of uControl. The specific URL points to iControlSMA, named after uControl’s Security, Monitoring and Automation initiative – an effort to rally vendors around ZigBee technology.

Xfinity spokesperson Charlie Douglas told CE Pro last month, “We haven’t made a specific announcement about vendors at this time (but you’ve clearly read the site).”

CE Pro speculated at the time of the iControl/uControl merger that the two organizations – with their similar remote home monitoring and control platforms – came together specifically to win the Comcast business.

Once big difference between the two is that iControl uses Z-Wave wireless technology for automation, and uControl currently uses ZigBee.

Comcast and other cable companies have always been enamored of ZigBee.

If uControl has won the Comcast/Xfinity deal, it will mark the first real customer of uControl’s since it was launched in 2005 as an ill-conceived DIY retrofit solution for legacy security systems. (We refer here to uControl technology; the brand no longer exists as the company formerly known as uControl is now a part of iControl.)

CrunchBase has reported that uControl had raised $24 million before it “merged” with iControl in an event that was actually considered to be an acquisition by the latter. For its part, iControl had raised $44 million before it won its first real customer, ADT, last year. The company is currently seeking $30 million in new funding, which is almost entirely committed.

Meanwhile, Xfinity isn’t talking about Houston, Elsewhere, iControl, uControl, installations and system pricing.

As a matter of fact, there is no longer any mention of system pricing on the Xfinity Home Security site, which originally had touted a $99 deal on an $1,100 system. Have we seen an end to the $99 install?

Of the three major service providers— AT&T (Xanboo). Verizon (Motorola/4Home) and Comcast (iControl/uControl)—that have promised to introduce remote home monitoring and control, none has provided much (or in AT&T’s case any) detail on its respective offering.

Xfinity Home Security then and now: Same $1,100 value, but no mention of a $99 install.

Is ZigBee the Right Choice for Xfinity Home Security? (CE Pro Plus subscription required)
ZigBee is a fine RF protocol for home control, but may not be the best solution today for the low-power, low-cost, aesthetic requirements of home security systems. Plus: check out CE Pro’s exclusive illustration of a would-be Xfinity/uControl ecosystem.
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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 julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

News · ADT · Comcast · iControl · uControl · Xfinity · ZigBee · All Topics
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