Personal Safety Driving Home Control for the Holidays & Beyond

By Bob Wallace November 07, 2013

Where once, home security options were limited to alarm monitoring services and custom video camera systems, a series of offerings from cablecos and telcos now boast capabilities that better address resident safety to potentially save lives.

Offerings from Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and AT&T have expanded the definition of “security” beyond threats from outside the residence, to safety threats to inhabitants from within dwellings.

A closer look at the home control solutions from these forward thinking providers reveals that each includes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on their device menu (see below). Expect other service providers to follow suit.

While controlling light switches, thermostats and certain appliances holds value, protecting living assets – people and pets – from threats you can’t or don’t see is of paramount importance. This reality is elevating home control services to a far higher value level.

Safety Redefined

Security systems and alarm monitoring focused largely on perimeter breaches such as window breaks or unauthorized entry through doors. Much of the expanded focus of home control services is now on protecting people as opposed to personal property and saving lives as opposed to saving money.

This expanded focus is part of an emerging trend that will be brought to the fore front and in full focus when home control solution providers add home health monitoring capabilities to their solutions. This will add an entirely new dimension to these services, and taking their value to new heights for many.

As a result, comprehensive home control services, which will continue to evolve to offer home health monitoring and more, may be the perfect holiday gift for the homeowner who thinks he or she has everything, but lacks the impossible-to-price peace of mind that comes with personal/family safety.

Market Movers

The best news is that cableco and telco providers offer a package approach which can include installation and integration pay options for those who want “assembly required” to refer only to kids’ toys and prefer not to buy the lengthening list of items and going the do-it-yourself (DIY) route.

The speed and extent to which the home control services market evolve depends in large part on the education efforts of cablecos and telcos to educate potential customer on these multi-dimensional offerings.  Comcast and AT&T, which plan to deploy the service in 50 markets by yearend, launched their solutions this year.

Comcast used a broad approach in the launch of Xfinity Home earlier this year that spanned direct mail, TV sports and radio ads, all of which focused on informing consumers on the offering and some price points.

Pricing approaches need to be relatively simple given the number of components to the solution and the diverse demographics of potential customers. A one-time charge for equipment, along with a monthly recurring fee and a onetime installation charge would seem to be the easiest to understand given consumers’ experience with other cableco and telco services.

The Bottom Line

With competition from the likes of ADT and others, along with systems that can be bought in stores and warehouse clubs to handle security and video monitoring, cablecos and telcos would be well advised to focus on the personal safety capabilities of their solutions – which are enabled by such devices as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

These aspects of home control and management focus on the safety threats from within, while lower end security monitoring services typically focus on threats from outside the residence. Safety and protection will take on a far greater value when home heath capabilities are eventually added.

With the yearend holidays soon upon us, and the widespread demand for electronics products for consumer use (tablets), pitching home control systems for the those that think they already have everything (older demographics) could prove effective.

Savvy providers need emphasize in messaging the fact that possessions (structures and their contents) can be replaced, while people and pets cannot. No scare tactics required.

Stay tuned.


Enhanced Personal Protection:

-Time Warner Cable’s Intelligent Home offering includes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and water/flood sensors.

-Comcast’s Xfinity Home package offers smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

-AT&T’s Digital Life supports detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide.

-Cox Home Security covers smoke and carbon monoxide detector for enhanced personal safety.

Sources: Company websites.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

VP of Content

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