The year is not quite over yet, but it’s clear that 2011 has earned a new name as far as security is concerned: The Year of the Telecom.
That’s because the year has been marked by at least five telecoms entering the security space. And those who have yawned and said, “What else is new? The telecoms have tried this before and failed,” had better take note. There are some indications the telecoms are doing things differently this time—for example, they’re teaming up with other professional security companies and joining industry associations.
Verizon led off in January, debuting its home security/home automation product at the Consumer Electronics show. After beta testing in New Jersey, it followed up in October by launching the product to its broadband customers nationwide.
While Verizon’s product is designed to be self-installed and self-monitored, it appears other telecoms are going with professionally installed and monitored products—and in some cases using professional security companies to do the installation and monitoring.
Cox Communications launched a home security/home automation product in Tucson, Ariz. this summer and is planning to launch in other markets in 2012.
Also in the fall, Time Warner Cable and Frontier Communications joined in by launching home security/home automation offerings in upstate New York, and Frontier also is experimenting with a security product in Pennsylvania .
Frontier, which tried going it alone previously a few years ago, is now partnering with professional security companies—with ADT for its New York offering, and with Protection 1 in Pennsylvania.
There’s also recent news that AT&T is creating a new Atlanta-based division to offer customers home security and home automation.
The Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association (GELSSA) is urging AT&T to join that group and be a good, ethical participant in the industry. That’s what Cox has already done in connection with its Tucson launch, joining the Arizona Alarm Association and attending seminars.
In 2012, we’re likely to see more activity from these telecoms and maybe additional players jumping in. Will the telecoms turn out to be competitive players this time around? Only time will tell.