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Summary:

Cable giant Comcast plans to offer a smart thermostat and energy efficiency service to its Xfinity customers via startup EcoFactor.

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Cable giant Comcast plans to offer a smart thermostat and energy efficiency service to its Xfinity Home customers via startup EcoFactor. While Comcast started providing a home security and home energy management product to customers last Summer, the EcoFactor service will add another layer, enabling Xfinity Home customers to have an EcoFactor-enabled connected thermostat automatically shave off tiny increments of their heating and cooling and lowering their monthly energy bill.

EcoFactor launched back in late 2009, with a premise to use smart algorithms and connected thermostats to make an energy efficiency service automated and smart. The company’s software learns the home owners’ behavior and tweaks the connected thermostat’s settings ever so slightly to shave off energy consumption, but also to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home. Customers can manually override the settings at any time. Think of it like Nest’s learning thermostat, but without the slick hardware.

EcoFactor has been working with utilities to provide demand response services — where a utility can turn down a home’s energy consumption during peak energy use times — but the Comcast deal is one of EcoFactor’s first announced partner outside of the utility world. EcoFactor has long looked to be a consumer-focused company and not a utility service provider.

Comcast has also been working with software player iControl for its already-available energy management service. Cable companies and telcos are looking to home energy management as a way to add more connected home services, and revenues. More on this news later today.

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  1. Interesting development, Katie. It seems only natural that service providers like Comcast would move into the home energy management market. Outside of providing more services for consumers, these companies have the infrastructure and experience to deliver smart thermostats and other green services fairly easily. The cable and broadband industry, in particular, is really starting to ramp up their exploration of green products and services, so it’s safe to assume that there are plenty more announcements like this coming. For example, in five to ten years, homes will not only be able to control energy consumption better but will likely be able to harvest it. Companies like Comcast and other service providers are posed to lead the way on these initiatives, and the introduction of this smart thermostat with EcoFactor is absolutely a step in the right direction to a greener world. – Steve Day, SVP of Marketing and Strategic Planning, Cheetah Technologies

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