Comcast wants to use its network as IoT platform for smart homes
Comcast is offering free home automation services to some 15 million subscribers
While it’s traditionally regarded as a cable company, Philadelphia-based Comcast provides quad-play services with its pay television, home internet, landline telephony and Xfinity Mobile services. Given this converged network footprint and existing subscriber base, it’s no surprise Comcast is looking to diversify into new areas that leverage its core value to provide new experiences to consumers.
The latest is centered on the booming internet of things (IoT) space. This week Comcast announced it will provide free home automation services to some 15 million subscribers leveraging its Xfinity portfolio, which includes the X1 television and voice remote, home Wi-Fi, a home security service and it’s mobile offering. Devices from companies including August, Honeywell, Kwikset, Lutron, Nest, Tile and “dozens of others” will be compatible with the service.
The company described the move as “democratizing and simplifying home automation.” EVP and Chief Product Officer Chris Satchell said, “Xfinity will be the home operating system that integrates every IoT device and transforms a connected home into an intelligent home. Our engineers are working to enable our customers to easily control their connected devices, making full use of our Xfinity platforms, such as Voice Control, X1, xFi and Xfinity Home. We also will add value to that experience by giving customers contextual suggestions for automation that will help them take full advantage of their digital home, making it more useful, fun, and enjoyable.”
Comcast’s IoT ambitions aren’t just limited to a consumer-facing play. On the enterprise side, Comcast expanded its machineQ service, a LoRa-based wide area network, in 12 U.S. markets: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington D.C. The enterprise IoT service was initially tested in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia.
“We believe that Comcast has a unique opportunity to leverage our existing network assets and Semtech’s LoRa technology, to fuel IoT innovation with disruptive new business models and smarter cities,” said Alex Khorram, general manager of machineQ. “We’ve seen excitement about a Comcast solution that is opening a whole new world of use cases that were previously not commercially viable due to the cost of connectivity and end devices, limited battery life, and inability to get coverage.”