Canadian telecom and cableco expanding home security reach

Canadian giants Bell Aliant and Rogers Communications will offer security/home automation solutions—both powered by iControl’s software—in major eastern cities in that country this year
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia and TORONTO—Canadian telecommunications company Bell Aliant and Canadian cable company Rogers Communications recently announced they’re bringing professionally installed and monitored home security/home automation to Atlantic Canada this year.

They’ll be the first telecom and cableco to enter the market in that area, according to news reports. Rogers started offering home security elsewhere in Canada two years ago, but Bell Aliant’s planned launch this spring will mark its first venture in the space.

U.S.-based software provider iControl Networks is a partner with the two companies in the effort.

iControl, based in Redwood City, Calif., announced this week that its software will be powering Bell Aliant’s new NextGen Home Security service. The company said the partnership with the Nova Scotia-based company marks another milestone in expanding iControl’s footprint internationally.

The software provider’s OpenHome software platform also powers Rogers’ Smart Home Monitoring solution. iControl and Rogers, based in Toronto, announced that partnership in 2011

Paul Dawes, executive VP and general manager for iControl’s Security & Telecommunications Division, told Security Systems News that two different divisions of iControl are providing the OpenHome software solutions for the two companies.

“Bell Aliant is using the Connect solution from iControl which is based on the Z-Wave and Wi-Fi technology,” he said. Rogers, he said, uses “the Converge division software which is focused on the cable operators and that’s a ZigBee-based solution.”

Dawes continued, “They’re both in market and we’re the software provider that allows them to provide a differentiated service.”

Both Bell Aliant and Rogers announced in late January that they would be bringing home security/home automation offerings to Atlantic Canada in the coming months.

They’ll be the first big communications companies to compete with smaller companies in that market, according to a recent report in The Telegram, a newspaper based in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The services that both the big communications companies are offering include real-time video monitoring options and control of door locks, thermostats and lighting through smartphones and computers. Both Rogers and Bell Aliant also offer 24/7 UL-certified monitoring and professional installation.

Rogers, which bills itself as one of Canada’s largest providers of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony, launched Smart Home Monitoring in Ontario in late 2011, but is now expanding it to Newfoundland and New Brunswick, Ian Pattinson, Rogers’ VP and general manager, Smart Home Monitoring, told SSN in an email interview.

He said that after receiving regulatory approvals, Rogers will introduce the service there “in the coming months.”

He said the service would be “available to the general public with bundle discounts provided to Rogers’ customers.”

Bell Aliant said it will launch its offering this spring.

According to company spokeswoman Katherine VanBuskirk, “NextGen Home Security is Bell Aliant’s first venture” into home security, monitoring and control. The company describes itself as one of Canada’s largest regional communications providers.

Bell Aliant said it will be rolling out its offering in major city centers.

VanBuskirk told SSN in an email, “We currently plan to roll out NextGen within our broadband footprint in Atlantic Canada in a phased approach, and are exploring opportunities to expand beyond Atlantic Canada to Quebec and Ontario in the future.”

She said that anyone with Bell Aliant broadband Internet will be able to subscribe to the service.

Dawes, of iControl, said that company is “super-excited” about partnering with Bell Aliant in the home security/home automation market.

“I think it’s going to be very successful. They’re looking forward to a very aggressive launch and a lot of success,” he told SSN.

He said that the Canadian market has lagged behind the U.S. market when it comes to traditional home security. However, he said, “I think the Canadian market is equal to or possibly even more ripe for the interactive solutions in the market today,” such as Bell Aliant’s NextGen Home Security and Rogers’ Smart Home Monitoring.

He predicts that Canadians will respond eagerly, as Americans have, to the “combined value proposition” that a totally connected home affords: peace of mind from a home security aspect and connectivity to children, other family members.

Pattinson said Rogers got into the home security because “our customers have been asking for more ‘connected’ services that integrate multiple services together.”

VanBuskirk said Bell Aliant has considered offering home security in the past, “but the emergence of new technologies and next-generation service offerings makes this the right time and a great fit for Bell Aliant.”

Dawes said that in addition to Canada, other international home security/home automation markets that iControl is targeting include Europe and South America.