LAS VEGAS—As it touts the integration of its latest home-automation partner, Zen Ecosystems, into the Xfinity Home platform, Comcast used CES to quietly meet with executives of Charter Communications and other cable companies, and plot a future in which Comcast will license home automation and security services in much the same way it does the X1 video platform.
In June, Comcast announced its intent to purchase Austin, Texas-based home-automation vendor Icontrol Networks, whose client roster not only serves Comcast, but Charter, Cox Communications, Canada’s Rogers Communications and a host of other cable operators around the world, according to Dennis Matthew, VP of Xfinity Home.
With Icontrol providing the backbone of these other cable companies’ home automation and security services, Comcast is poised to manage these operations once its Icontrol purchase finally closes. (Matthew would not speculate on when he thinks the regulatory proceedings will end.)
Icontrol was founded in 2003 and offers connected home technology to a handful of MSOs, marketed under brand names including Cox Homelife, Bright House Home Security and Control, Mediacom Home Controller, Time Warner Cable Intelligent Home and others. (Bright House and Time Warner are now owned by Charter, of course.)
Once Comcast closes on Icontrol, it will license the full range of Xfinity Home services, which have grown in recent years to include such nationally distributed third-party devices as August Smart Locks, Chamberlain MyQ garage controllers, Lutron Caseta wireless controllers and dimmers, and now, Zen thermostats.
With prices for Zen thermostats starting out at around $150, the inclusion of the product into the Xfinity Home portfolio does not mean that Comcast is bumping aside Nest. Matthew said it merely gives Xfinity Home flexibility to offer a lower price option to the more premium Nest, which retails for around $250.