Rogers joins home monitoring market with Smart Home Monitoring service

The rapidly-changing home monitoring service segment has its newest entrant--Rogers Communications (NYSE: RCI) of Canada.

Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System touchpad

Rogers' Touchpad allows users to interface with the home monitoring system. Click here to view the company's promotional video.

The company, more known as a cable TV operator in some quarters and as a wireless carrier in others, but like most telecom players a firm that may see broadband as the sector with the biggest potential, demonstrated a smartphone-controlled remote home monitoring service Wednesday in Toronto, and began selling the offering at its retail locations in Toronto and Ottawa.

The Smart Home Monitoring service allows residential users to manage in-home security systems, indoor lighting and appliances. Pricing begins at $40 per month, though it also requires installation and connection fees.

Rogers officials reportedly have been watching what is happening on the home monitoring technology front for the last half decade or so before moving forward with the service, an experience it likely had in common with many carriers who were not exactly sure if or when home monitoring should be part of their service set.

In the U.S., independent telco Surewest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) may have been the first telecom service provider to launch such a service more than three years ago. But more recently, Verizon Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) unveiled a home monitoring service that grew out of its investment in 4Home, which was made in September 2010. In late 2010, AT&T (NYSE: T) acquired Xanboo to fuel its own home monitoring strategy. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) also have entered the fray, and home monitoring-focused vendors like iControl have beefed up through acquisition to handle the growing opportunity.

At the same time, this new market opportunity is being reshaped as it grows. Before many service providers entered the market, companies like Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) had targeted the market with new gadgets or solutions. However, with Cisco's announcement this week that it was pulling its Home Energy Controller console from the market, we have seen all three of those high-tech giants drop out. In some ways, that could be admission that the service providers, through broadband home connections and mobile phone offerings, have the inside track in this race.

For more:
- read this Montreal Gazette story
- and the Rogers press release

Related articles:
Verizon unveiled a home monitoring service in January 2011
Verizon invested in 4Home in September 2010
Surewest launched its home security service in 2008
Cisco pulled its home energy console and shifted strategy