Comcast has launched some new energy-focused services to its digital home product Xfinity Home, highlighting a new way to make homes more efficient: buy it from your cable company. On Monday Comcast announced that Xfinity Home now includes a smart thermostat service called EcoSaver and last week Comcast announced that it plans to sell remote-controlled, efficient light bulbs through Xfinity Home, too.
Comcast’s new EcoSaver smart thermostat service is powered by Bay Area startup EcoFactor, and that partnership was announced last year. Customers who sign up for the thermostat service get one of the Xfinity connected thermostats — from device makers like Radio Thermostat of America and CentraLite — and the EcoFactor software learns the home’s heating and cooling patterns and incrementally shaves off energy consumption.
The idea is that customers can reduce their energy consumption and energy bill due to heating and cooling in tiny and automated amounts, and without sacrificing comfort in the home. The homeowner can also override the system at any time. It’s like how the Nest learning thermostat works, but without the Nest thermostat.
For startup EcoFactor, the product launch is a big deal. The company, which itself launched in 2009, now has its software available to 23 million customers just through this partnership.
For Comcast’s connected lighting service, the cable company is working with lighting company Osram Sylvania to launch LED light bulbs that can be controlled remotely. Comcast says that the light bulbs could save customers 83 percent on their energy bill and could last 17.5 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs.
Comcast’s Xfinity Home products are using the cable company’s broadband network reach, and home WiFi to connect home devices — like these new light bulbs and thermostats — to the cloud. Customers will probably buy the services because they want the home automation aspect (in addition to connected video security services, and door and window lock monitoring services) and as a byproduct they’ll be reducing their energy consumption, too.
Cable and telecom companies have been moving into offering home energy management, connected thermostats and connected lighting to their products over the past couple of years. AT&T launched their digital home product, which includes the option for a thermostat, earlier this year. See this article back in 2011 to see how long telcos and cable cos have been working on adding a layer of energy management.