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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 11, 2012

Time Warner Follows Comcast into Home Energy Management Market

By Cheryl Kaften, TMCnet Contributor

They not only know who you are and where you live; they are capable of determining what’s happening behind your closed doors and they can share it with you. They are America’s multiple system operators (MSOs), companies that offer cable, Internet, and phone service packages to consumers as well as new home security and energy management platforms.

In 2010, Palo Alto (News - Alert)-based iControl Networks sealed a deal to supply its OpenHome software for Philadelphia-based Comcast’s new home security and energy management service, Xfinity Home Security—providing the largest U.S. MSO with a new portal into the lives of consumers. The service was launched in Houston then, expanded last June to Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Visual courtesy of Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable

Now the second-largest MSO in the nation, New York City-based Time Warner Cable (TWC), serving more than 14 million customers, has jumped on the bandwagon with its own IntelligentHome, also powered by iControl.  The TWC platform provides customers with connected home management services, including security, with remote home video viewing and window and door sensors, as well as wireless management of heating, A/C, and lighting. The new service already is available in upstate New York and Southern California.

Specifically, iControl explains, with IntelligentHome, customers can:

door/window sensors, motion detectors, smoke detectors, and more.

"IntelligentHome is the latest innovation from Time Warner Cable that brings ultimate control to our customers who want to stay connected to their homes 24/7," said Keith Burkley, senior vice president, Home Management. "IntelligentHome is a powerful smart home management product that's a natural extension of our existing suite of services. Our customers are excited to see just how easy it is to manage their homes from anywhere at any time."

"We are excited to partner with Time Warner Cable to meet the growing demand from consumers to stay connected to their homes," commented Bob Hagerty, CEO of iControl. "IntelligentHome customers will quickly realize how simple it is to manage their homes, save money on their utility bills, and have the peace-of-mind that comes along with a home management service like this."

Indeed, according to Dallas-based research firm Parks Associates, fully one-third of U.S. consumers in broadband households find remote control of lights, appliances, and thermostats via Web-enabled devices very appealing. Nearly 50 percent find email/text notification of smoke, fire, water, or gas leaks very appealing.

"With the popularity of smartphones, tablets, and other Web-enabled devices, consumers are carrying a link to their home systems," explained Bill Ablondi, director, Home Systems Research, Parks Associates (News - Alert). "Widespread availability of broadband is also disrupting the traditional business model of security companies and introducing new competition from service providers, who are leveraging their networks to create new services and expand their average revenue per user. These Internet-connected security systems, which provide additional capabilities and benefits, are expanding the residential security market by bringing new customers into what was a relatively stagnant consumer base. ”

Look for more telcos, cable operators, utilities, and security companies to jump into the home energy and home automation space in 2012.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.

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Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves