April 26, 2013 UPDATE: AT&T debuts Digital Life home network in 15 cities
AT&T is launching its Digital Life home security and monitoring service in 15 cities — some large, some midsize — with
plans to expand to 50 locations by midyear, the telecom says. In competing with companies such as ADT,
AT&T will allow people to use either mobile devices or PCs to keep an eye on various activities and appliances through Web-connected cameras and sensors hooked up to a broadband connection.
We previously wrote:
In January 2013, AT&T issued a press release indicating that their Digital Life Home Security and Automation system for “the connected home” would be available to consumers in March this year.
In mid-March of this year AT&T upped the number of cities it said would be covered at the outset from eight to 15. It has targeted availability in 50 cities by year end.
AT&T told Telecoms.com that demand following trials in two US cities [Atlanta and Dallas] led to an expansion of launch plans. “In response to customer feedback we’re nearly doubling the number of cities where we plan to introduce Digital Life,” the firm said. “As a result, we’re adjusting the launch timing. This allows us to align our marketing and operational plans to accommodate the expanded launch. We will share pricing details when we launch the service this spring.”
But the Digital Life page on AT&T’s website currently displays a static form inviting prospective customers to register for details of future availability in their home area. https://my-digitallife.att.com/support/digitallife
Digital Life will be based around home security and monitoring solutions initially, before expanding into areas like utility management. It will compete with similar connected home automation systems from Verizon and Comcast. Subscription security services in the US have a far lower churn rate than wireless/mobile services. Industry averages for home security system customer lifecycle was said to be on the order of six to seven years.
“AT&T Digital Life is a game-changing wireless centric home security and automation experience with its unique integration and an intuitive app to control every feature from your smartphone, tablet or PC,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president, AT&T Digital Life. “Combined with AT&T’s wireless network (http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2943) and unparalleled distribution channels, Digital Life will offer exciting new innovation. We can’t wait to get it into the hands of our customers.” In providing an end-to-end security solution, from hardware distribution and retail to installation and after sales support, AT&T aims to “disrupt and remake the security industry,” Peterson said.
AT&T has not revealed the value of its investment in Digital Life, the scope of the project is extensive. The firm acquired and then internally developed its own management platform for the security service, has built its own monitoring centres and dedicated support facilities and will source third party providers trained to install domestic equipment. These installers will ensure the devices’ connection to AT&T’s network and leave customers’ homes with the end users fully able to manage their new security solution through AT&T’s bespoke, multi-platform User Interface, according to Peterson.
A typical installation could require 30 or 40 devices, Peterson told Telecoms.com.
“We’ll subsidise the upfront cost of the kit and installation in exchange for two-year contracts,” he said. “We’ll be very competitively priced upfront, we’ll give lifetime warranties on the services and equipment and we’ll be very competitive on the monthly fee.” AT&T’s costs will be offset by an international licensing strategy that exploits “owners economics” Peterson added.
AT&T executives have repeatedly touted home security and automation as one of the company’s new growth opportunities for “emerging devices,” M2M, and the Internet of Things (IoT). AT&T stated it has been an innovative, proactive, early leader in machine-to machine (M2M) communications and sees exciting potential in this market. The company’s goal is to “help drive wireless capabilities into a wide variety of devices beyond traditional handsets for businesses. AT&T is driving the emergence of new categories of devices and applications that are enhanced by wireless network connectivity. This will create new categories of devices and applications, both for consumers and businesses,” according to AT&T’s website: http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/files/pdf/emerging_devices/M2M_Snapshot.pdf
Other emerging device applications that AT&T is working on (with partner companies) include the connected car, mobile healthcare/eHealth and mobile safety. In addition to a global 3G and 4G-LTE cellular network, AT&T has the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with nearly 27,000 hotspots in the U.S. Emerging devices could connect to those networks or even wire-line networks for M2M communications.
AT&T Media kit for “emerging devices” is at: http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=13434
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