Xfinity (then Comcast) was the first of the major cable companies and telcos to roll out a home automation system with remote monitoring and management of alarms, surveillance cameras, lighting, thermostats and other devices in the home. The original offering – first called Comcast Home Security, then Comcast Home, now Comcast Home Secure—requires professional installation and security monitoring and costs $40 per month for the base package.
Now Xfinity is launching a DIY system that costs just $9.95 per month for most of the original home automation functions but without the professional security monitoring.
The new system, called Xfinity Home Control, helps Xfinity compete with Verizon – the only major cable/telecom company to launch an all-DIY home automation system with no monitored security system. Verizon’s Home Monitoring and Control, launched in 2011, is similar to Xfinity Home, with the same fee structure and mostly the same feature set.
Likewise, Xfinity now is positioned to compete with Lowe’s, which launched the Iris home control system (starting at $10 per month) during CES 2013.
Related: Trends in Affordable Automation Systems
So far Time Warner Cable (IntelligentHome), Cox Communications (Cox Home Security) and AT&T (Digital Life) have yet to announce similar packages.
While today’s press release does not detail the hardware of the new system, presumably it is the same as the original home control system but without cellular communications. Powered by the cloud-based iControl automation platform, Xfinity home utilizes a single self-contained controller with a touchscreen, low-rate RF for security sensors, ZigBee for home automation, and Wi-Fi for other services.
If the hardware is in fact the same as the original, the new Xfinity Home Control should provide an easy upgrade path for cellular service and professional security monitoring.
A “starter pack” is being offered for $99.95. We’re guessing it includes a touchscreen controller, a thermostat, a plug-in lamp module and maybe a security sensor or two.
Related: What Makes a Smart Home Smart
In addition to the new DIY system, Xfinity announced today the launch of EcoSaver, a new cloud-based solution that may help consumers reduce energy usage. The service learns the heating and cooling patterns of a home and makes automatic and incremental adjustments to the thermostat based on real-time weather data, the thermal characteristics of the house and the temperature preferences of the occupants.
Last week, Xfinity announced that its home control system would integrate with Osram Sylvania’s new ZigBee-enabled LED bulbs.
Related: Why You Need Home Automation
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Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.