Cisco has announced the launch of a wireless-based, home security and automation service with AT&T Digital Life. Digital Life gives consumers the ability to secure and manage their homes from virtually anywhere and AT&T has announced plans to commercially launch the service in the US in March.
Cisco will provide the Digital Life control panel and back-office provisioning and applications life-cycle management system, which allows customers to monitor, protect and manage their homes using a smartphone, tablet or PC.
The service will give consumers options to: view live video from inside and outside the home; arm and disarm the security system, control and manage appliances, lighting and HVAC for energy efficiency; lock or unlock doors for guests or repairmen; and detect water leaks.
Review: Cisco withdrew from the home energy management market last August - this is effectively a re-entry. But as I said back then, it’s not core business for the company, hence this time it’s a partnership with AT&T and with a different market approach.
Home energy management is a green IT solution that probably doesn’t have enough market appeal in the US to sustain a business, but couch it in terms of remote home management, enhanced security and user convenience and it may well have more traction.
Either way round, the net result is much the same. We’re effectively talking about Home Area Networks (HANs), whatever the approach. It’s the ability to manage electrical systems and appliances in the home, on a trajectory that may lead to the long-discussed ‘Internet of Things’ (although I see it’s now sometimes referred to, confusingly, as the Internet of Everything).
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the anticipated future when virtually all electrical devices have their own IP addresses and so can be accessed through any internet connection. It means you’ll be able to turn the kettle on in your kitchen from anywhere in the world (that’s the cynic in me talking). There’s certainly a lot of potential in the IoT, particularly for IT companies to wring business out of it (there it is again).