iControl Networks, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup working on broadband-based home security solutions, said today that it’s raised $23 million in third-round funding from investors including Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital, GE Security and Tyco International’s ADT Security Services. Existing investors Charles River Ventures, Intel Capital and the Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers iFund also participated. The funding highlights how the wider availability of broadband and faster speeds are enabling a new business opportunity for broadband providers.
Five-year-old iControl will offer a service that uses a home’s broadband connection to manage several IP-based security cameras, sensors and even door locks via which consumers can monitor their homes; the service is currently going through trials and will be available this fall. The way it will work is that if the cameras and sensors track any movement, they will talk to a router installed within the home, which will in turn communicate with iControl’s servers to send a notification to the consumer on their mobile phone over a 3G network. Thanks to broadband penetration reaching over 60 percent in the U.S., iControl believes it can make money providing home security over IP instead of landlines. Dawes said iControl plans to put the funding towards scaling itself in order to meet expected demand for its broadband security service; iControl will use some of it to develop and market energy management products as well.
Big-name broadband service providers such as Comcast are excited about the home security market because it both takes advantage of the faster broadband speeds they’re offering while providing an additional revenue stream. iControl also has a partnership agreement with ADT to offer ADT’s hardware (sensors and IP cameras) in conjunction with iControl’s network management system and monitoring service over consumer broadband connections.
Dawes said that unless a customer is monitoring several video cameras the total data rates uploaded and downloaded by the service should not have a large effect on a subscriber’s bandwidth cap. That is, unless someone wants high-quality video streams, and lots of them.