Comcast ahead of curve in security space

Telecom led others in launching a home security/home automation option and will add Tucson to its markets this year
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

PHILADELPHIA—Many telecoms decided that 2011 was the year to launch a home security/home automation offering—Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Frontier Communications, AT&T and Cox Communications among them.

But Comcast, which is based here, was ahead of the curve, launching Xfinity Home Security in Houston in June 2010. The company, with millions of customers nationwide, has so far made the product available in other major markets around the country, including Greater Philadelphia; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Naples and Sarasota, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn.; and parts of New Jersey. In December, Comcast also began offering Xfinity in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and it plans to launch it in Tucson, Ariz. sometime this year, according to Jamila Patton, senior manager of corporate communications for Comcast.

She declined to give specifics at this point about the Tucson launch or to say how many security customers Comcast now has.

“It’s going really well and our customers seem to enjoy the service,” Patton told Security Systems News. “We will continue to launch the service this year.”

Comcast’s security offering is professionally monitored by a UL-listed third-party central monitoring station, while Comcast’s professional home security team does the installations, Patton said.

She said Xfinity “is so much more than home security.”

Options include not just burglar and fire detection, but thermostat and lighting control and video, which all can be controlled from the home, through a Web portal or a mobile device, Patton said.

The company’s two packages are Basic, at $29.95 per month, and Preferred, at $39.95 per month, according to the company’s website.

Some industry observers have said telecoms are at a disadvantage in the security space because they’re large, diverse companies that customers may not trust for their specialized security needs.

But Patton said Comcast is well suited to be in security.

“Offering home security is a natural extension for us,” she said. She said Comcast is already in customers’ homes, “so it’s a company that folks are familiar with,” and the new broadband connection service “converges with some of the services that we already offer and it’s on one bill.”

In June 2011, Palo Alto-based software provider iControl announced that Comcast’s home security/home automation services were powered by iControl software.