At the launch of C Spire’s ultra-high speed, fiber-based gigabit Internet service, analysts wondered what offerings the Fiber to the Home initiative would include beyond the next generation internet, digital HD television and nationwide phone service.
They got some answers Thursday with the Ridgeland telecommunications company’s announcement that a suite of home automation, security and monitoring services will be part of the package. Branded as C Spire Home, the telecom is calling the package the “smart home” promise.
C Spire plans to introduce the new services by the end of the year in Mississippi communities it has selected for the fiber-based gigabit Internet service. The gigabit Internet services are expected to commercially launch in one or more C Spire Fiber to the Home markets by the end of this summer with the home automation, security and monitoring services to follow.
Initial availability will be in one or more of the first C Spire Fiber to the Home cities of Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville that have qualified areas for related services through pre-registration. Other home automation markets will be added in the future, C Spire says.
In a press statement Thursday, C Spire said its home package will be “intuitive, simple and easy for consumers to understand and use” through smart phones or any other Web-enabled device. The service will automate such tasks as adjusting the thermostat or turning off lights inside the home from the office or closing the garage door and locking the front door from the other side of town, C Spire says.
The all-digital, IP-based suite of services will be the first in Mississippi offered by a telecommunications provider.
Atlanta telcom analyst Jeff Kagan was among the industry watches curious to know which services would accompany the Internet launch. “They never really talked at about the services this wire line would provide,” he said. “This starts to explain it.”
Look for even more innovative service add-ons as C Spire widens its reach with the gigabit Internet service, Kagan said, describing C Spire as a regional wireless provider that will soon be known as much for its fiber offerings as it is for wireless services.
“This wire line is going to deliver a lot more than home security,” he noted. The ultra-high-speed fiber lines “open the doors to all sorts of new technologies and offerings.”
Today, the likes of AT&T and Comcast are offering the home services in major metro markets. Significantly, said Kagan, Mississippi is gaining big city services ahead of many of the nations larger cities.
“This puts C Spire way ahead of competitors in the region,” he said.
Suzy Hays, C Spire senior VP of Consumer Markets, called C Spire Home a next-generation suite of Internet, digital television, phone, security, monitoring and automation services that helps move us one step closer to making our homes a hub for smarter living.”
Added Hays: “With its unique integration and an intuitive app to easily control and manage every feature, this platform gives consumers what they want and need – meaningful applications coupled with simple, easy interfaces.”
She said the remote home monitoring, automation and security services will be able to control and manage virtually every part of consumers’ homes through a lineup of wirelessly enabled devices, including:
» Cameras – see live and recorded video inside and outside the home from your smartphone
» Windows and door sensors
» Smoke, carbon monoxide, motion and broken glass sensors
» Door locks
» Appliance and lighting controls
The C Spire Home touchscreen color control panel, built by Honeywell, is UL certified and will serve as the primary hub to manage C Spire’s all-digital home security, monitoring and automation platform, C Spire said.
The telecom noted that industry analysts expect home security, monitoring and automation services to grow significantly over the next several years as consumers seek more ways to secure and manage their homes from virtually anywhere.
With the 1.9 billion devices that can connect to homes today expected to grow to 9 billion by 2018, the ‘connected’ smart home market is poised to expand dramatically, according to industry research.
Roger Entner, founder and lead analyst for Recon Analytics, said the future of in-home communications and widespread adoption of the ‘connected’ smart home is being driven by “consumers’ desire to harness the power and potential of technology to improve the quality of their lives in the place that matters most to them – their home.”
Entner said he expects consumer interest in smart home solutions to grow with expanded capabilities, usability and other improvements in home security, monitoring and automation solutions.
In addressing pricing of C Spire Home services, C Spire said it will offer several purchasing options and plans to disclose details on monthly pricing and one-time installation costs soon. Hays said the suite of home security, monitoring and automation services from C Spire will be competitive with other smart home offerings on the market today.
Kagan, the Atlanta telecom analyst, said he thinks pricing on the new home services will be competitive with those offered by the telecom giants in major cities.
“I think the more services a customer buys the lower the price for each service,” he said.
“Imagine being able to control everything having to do with your home, automation and security, from a keypad on the wall or your smartphone. You’ve got to love this age.”
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