Cable Technology Feature Article
Comcast Positions for the Connected Home with PowerCloud Acquisition
By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor
Comcast has purchased PowerCloud Systems (News - Alert), which makes the popular Skydog Wi-Fi router and a corresponding app that lets users control broadband usage within the home zone.
However, Comcast (News - Alert) won’t be continuing the Skydog product line. Existing customers can continue to use the app until the end of their subscription, but no renewals will be made. Instead, PowerCloud's technologies will be folded into Comcast's product portfolio starting in 2015.
Tyson Marian, a strategic development executive for Comcast, told Venture Beat that Comcast will use the intellectual property to build smart home products that let broadband subscribers manage all of their IP devices and track usage, along with security implementations.
The connected home strategy positions the cable giant for a big revenue opportunity. According to analysts at visiongain, the market is set to grow at a 49-percent CAGR through 2018. Offering control and interoperability within the connected home, which allows content and services to be delivered to ultimately more endpoints, will increase revenue opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem.
“While the connected home comes in various guises, our research shows that many consumers are already utilizing many smart devices and services for low-level smart home functionality,” visiongain said. “Building on a foundation of consumer interest ecosystem members and new market entrants must act swiftly in order to stake a claim in a market which [was] worth $101 billion in 2013.”
Some say that Comcast could even use the technology to move out of footprint, perhaps in a wholesale model.
“This would be a good move for Comcast as it instruments the home, first with connections, then with sensors, then with the apps that help a customer understand how everything is moving through their pipes, their home, their electrical wires,” James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester (News - Alert) Research, told TechCrunch. “The question is whether Comcast would want to own this asset only to use it in service of its limited network or whether it would try to scale it beyond Comcast’s network. Feels like a shame not to reach outside of its footprint, which is a general problem Comcast has — the question of how to get
outside of its footprint so it can compete with the big guys: Google, Apple, Amazon, even Microsoft.”
PowerCloud was spun off from the Xerox R&D lab and the the Palo Alto (News - Alert) Research Center (PARC) in 2008, with about $6 million in private capital. TechCrunch pegs the Comcast purchase as coming in at under $50 million.
Edited by Adam Brandt