AT&T to move from smartphone to smart home

Digital Home service, with technology from Cisco, to launch in March

LAS VEGAS -- AT&T on Monday announced an all-digital, wireless home monitoring service that will allow customers to control home security and automate tasks such as locking doors and turning off lights from a smartphone, tablet or PC, regardless of the carrier.

The service will be rolled out to reach eight cities in March with more added each month, said AT&T Mobility's Glenn Lurie, president of emerging enterprise technology. He spoke at the AT&T Developer Summit here prior to the official launch of International CES.

Less than 1% of U.S. households have home automation, he said, noting that existing systems aren't easy to use. AT&T expects to address with controls from the devices they want to use. Android, iOS and Windows OS's are supported. Customers can also customize their service.

Cisco CEO John Chambers also appeared at the event to announce that Cisco will provide the Digital Life controller and panel, the back-office provisioning and the system that AT&T and its customers will use for management.

The controller will have five radios to support a variety of in-home sensors, keypads and cameras built on one and two-way voice, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and 3G cellular.

Chambers said Cisco and AT&T worked together for the past two years, and suggested the partnership could expand to applications used in education. "We chose AT&T as our partner because we saw a company that was reinventing itself," Chambers said. He said AT&T will be willing to adapt to changes and "to go global...We're all in."

He said that AT&T is probably two to three years ahead of its peers in delivering Digital Home.

Lurie said the security will provide smoke, carbon monoxide and motion and glass break sensors, as well as controls for door locks, thermostats, moisture and water shut-off and appliance and lighting controls.

Pricing wasn't announced for the service.

Lurie said the Digital Life platform is open, allowing hardware and app developers to build products for in-home monitoring.

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Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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