AT&T patent application may link home automation to U-Verse

AT&T (NYSE:T) has filed a patent application that appears to add home automation capabilities to a set-top box. The application, filed in February by AT&T Intellectual Property I, is called "System and Method of Interacting with Home Automation Systems via a Set-Top Box Device" and adds a TV interface to the home automation system.

According to CEPro, adding a TV interface to a home automation system isn't a novel idea, but the patent could also integrate with AT&T's U-Verse content delivery system and provide the operator with the ability to outfit consumer set-top boxes with home automation capabilities so they can dim the lights and silence the phone when a certain program begins.

CEPro noted that this patent is a continuation of another patent filed by AT&T in 2008, which was two years prior to AT&T's acquisition of Xanboo. Xanboo makes the home automation platform the company uses today for its Digital Life service.

AT&T Mobility launched its Digital Life home security and automation service last spring in an effort to grow its business beyond smartphones. The company is charging $39.99 monthly for a Smart Security package that includes motion, smoke, carbon monoxide and "glass break" sensors, plus $250 for equipment and installation. Home security cameras will cost an additional $10 monthly, not including equipment costs. The telco is also charging $5 monthly for an energy package that lets users control lighting and thermostats, $5 monthly for automated door locks and $5 for flood sensors.

The service is available in about 15 markets where it competes with similar products from Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Cox Communications. AT&T has said it will expand the service to 50 markets by year-end.

For more:
- see this CEPro article

Special Report: Comcast leads cable's push for cut of $13B home security and automation market

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