Comcast Unveils Expanded Xfinity Home Automation Platform
Giant cable TV multi system operator (MSO) Comcast is using CES 2018 to unveil an expansion on its Xfinity Home security and automation capabilities across the entire Xfinity services portfolio.
Parts of that expansion will involve the company’s X1 set-top interface and Xfi mobile device app and is an extension of the the successful Xfinity Home security platform.
“We are going to help customers unlock some of these new capabilities as we think about the connected home moving into more of an intelligent home, giving our customers the ability to have that at their finger tips with one click or by saying something into the voice remote,” said Patti Loyack, Comcast Cable IP services VP.
The system will enable new levels of personalized service and convenience, so that, for example, a customer can wake up in the morning and say “Xfinity, good morning,” and automatically the X1 box tunes the television to a favorite morning program, the thermostat is adjusted to a preferred temperature, the lights are turned on or off, and the latest news, weather and traffic reports appear on the X1 screen offering a glance of the morning’s activity.
Read more about the Xfinity Home Automation initiative after the jump:
Similarly, when the user is ready to turn in for the night, a touch on the appropriate scene in the app or a spoken command into the voice remote will trigger a host of activities based on the preferrences programmed into the system.
To make some of this magic possible with as many devices and systems as possible, Comcast announced strategic partnerships with home-automation-connected companies including: August, Honeywell, Lutron, Nest and a dozen others.
Comcast also recently acquired a company called Stringify, which is a West Coast tech-startup with over 500 Internet of Things (IoT) products and digital services, that helped the cable MSO significantly grow its “works with program” with additional partners.
In addition, Comcast said it is in discussions with Amazon and Google to integrate their Alexa and Google Home technologies into the network as well.
“As people embrace these connected solutions, we want to make sure that we address all consumers and not just the tech-saavy folks,” Loyack said.
Since most smart devices are linked via Wi-Fi, Comcast customers in certain territories (Boston and Chicago initially) will be able to buy Xfi Pods (in three-packs and six-packs) that provide a mesh Wi-Fi network that helps blanket the home with Wi-Fi. Comcast plans to rollout availability of the Xfi Pods to additional markets in 2018.
The home automation service will also integrate with certain devices on the Xfinity Home security network, such as Wi-Fi cameras, to call up images through the X1 TV screen.
Loyack said that as these capabilities are turned on in various Xfinity territories it will begin to impact more than 15 million customers at no additional cost when they lease a gateway product from Comcast and subscribe to its existing services.
Over time, Loyack said, “we’ve found a lot of these home automation devices tend to collect dust after the novelty wears off. So, we have designed this to make things fun.”
For example, users with Philips Hue automated light bulbs will be able to setup the lights to blink on and off in the appropriate colors when a favorite team scores during the Super Bowl.
Loyack said she anticipates many users will tend to gravitate toward the mobile Xfi app to perform many of the home automation tasks, since it is setup to accept many of the rules that users will create themselves to perform various functions either alone or in synch with each other.
“But there is also something very appealing about the ease of just grabbing a voice remote and triggering whatever scene you might like,” Loyack said. “We are really excited about the possibilities and we really want Xfinity to be the home operating system for our customers.”
The home automation component will leverage some of the growing success of Xfinity Home, which recently announced serving more than 1 million customers across Comcast territories.
The home automation service includes one, easy-to-use platform that allows customers to manage, monitor and control homes via:
▪ Xfinity Home smart phone apps for iOS and Android
▪ Xfinity Home touchscreen device
▪ Xfinity Home web portal
▪ Xfinity X1 voice remote
By Greg Tarr
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