The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show hasn’t even officially kicked off and already the smart energy home has emerged as a key target for a variety of sectors, including telcos, big box retailers, startups, chip companies and now cable operators. On Monday cable firm Time Warner Cable said it has teamed with startup iControl Networks to offer a smart home management system.
The new service from Time Warner Cable, called IntelligentHome, will provide customers with connected home management services, like security, with remote home-video viewing and window and door sensors, as well as wireless management of home heating, cooling and lighting. The service is already available in upstate New York and Southern California. (I will add pricing details when they send it to me).
IControl has worked with cable companies before: It is the company behind Comcast’s similar smart home service that was launched last summer. Comcast is also an investor in iControl. IControl provides the software layer while the cable companies provide the broadband connection, and third-party hardware providers make the dashboards and security gadgets. IControl has long had the strategy to white label its service and to avoid getting into the hardware market itself.
Cable operators as well as telcos are increasingly beginning to offer home management services as a way to try to avoid becoming a dumb pipe and also as a way to reduce churn and add extra subscription revenues. Verizon launched a similar service about a year ago, which included home security control and monitoring as well as energy reading devices, smart thermostats and smart appliance control devices, among other applications. Verizon worked with Motorola’s 4Home(a startup that it acquired a couple of years ago) as well as Ingersoll-Rand for the security applications.
At CES the big-box retailers Lowe’s and Best Buy are also both looking to have a presence and push new smart home devices and services. Lowe’s is working with UK smart energy company AlertMe, while Best Buy is selling a variety of devices like the smart thermostat Nest.
Connected devices that control home energy consumption can make homes more energy-efficient. The Nest smart thermostat can reduce home energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent.
IControl is backed by Comcast, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Charles River Ventures, Intel Capital, Cisco, GE and security firm ADT.