AT&T to start offering home automation service in March

AT&T (NYSE: T) is using this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce that it will begin delivering its Digital Life home security and automation services to homeowners in eight markets beginning in March.

Later this year, AT&T said, it will bring the service to 50 U.S. states.

With Digital Life, customers can control various functions including remotely turning on and off lights and adjusting thermostats from a mobile device. They will also be able to customize their own security and automation package based on their individual needs, and will have the ability to manage and control their services by setting up programs and alerts.

Although consumers will be able to access various configurations and features, a key point of the service is ease of use. Since it's all wirelessly enabled in the home, there's no need to install new wiring.

Last summer, the telco began offering Digital Life in a number of trial markets, including in Atlanta and Dallas, after releasing details about the service in May.

While AT&T will target its existing wireless and wireline customers, the service is available to any U.S. homeowner regardless of who their wireless carrier or broadband provider is.

Arguably, the home automation market is still in its nascent stage, with only 1.8 million home automation systems shipped in 2011 globally. However, ABI Research forecast that that number will increase to over 12 million shipments by 2016.    

Besides AT&T (NYSE: T) other providers like Frontier and Time Warner Cable to launch home automation and security services.  

What's driving these service providers to deliver new home automation services is additional service revenues as they see declines in traditional voice services.

AT&T can target both segments, as it already has a strong large wireless and wireline customer base. Wireline customers that have existing U-verse IPTV are an easy target for this service as they likely have a home networking gateway with WiFi capabilities that can connect various devices like cameras and security systems.

AT&T could target its U-verse customer base with offerings that bundle in the Digital Life service with their wireline voice, data and video products. In Q3 2012, the service provider reported that it added almost 200,000 new U-verse TV subscribers and 613,000 new broadband Internet subscribers.

For more:
- see the release

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