2012
05.22

So what, you may ask, are the editors of Connected World magazine doing at a cable show? Great question, and one that has a very specific answer. I will give you a hint; it’s all about the data.

Attending The Cable Show in Boston this week, Peggy Smedley and I are getting a nice glimpse into the ways in which this industry might make a play into the world of the connected home. It’s a no brainer if you ask me, simply due to the fact the cable companies are already inside the home of millions of Americans. So while they are pumping in programming and Internet, they might as well make a play at trying to connect the entire home with things like energy management, security, and automation, to name a few.

While we have seen major announcements from the likes of Comcast and Time Warner around home control in recent months, it still seems, based on the conversations we have had here in Boston, that the cable companies are still playing catch-up mode to their carrier counterparts when it comes to figuring out the whole M2M and connected devices market. But, due in part to the reason I mentioned earlier, I think they could make up a lot ground in a short amount of time once they get their arms around the fact that the content they are streaming into the home is indeed data—and they could be making a play at much more of it via things like home automation and control.

A few weeks back I argued, when AT&T made its big splash into the home market, that consumers won’t suddenly succumb to the idea of home automation and control simply because a big name has entered the ring. I reasoned instead that the parties that will ultimately figure this whole thing out and be successful in providing the connected home will be the ones that simplify the user experience and deliver it in such a way that the consumer feels both comfort and convenience. Part of that convenience will come from not having to pay multiple parties each month for services.

Do the cable companies have it figured out? Not as of yet. Do the carriers? Not entirely. So, then which party will the average consumer turn to when it comes to the connected home and the ancillary services? Again, it’s the party that figures out the value to the homeowner.

Do the cable companies have a leg up because they are already in the homes of millions of Americans? Not necessarily, but it does warrant consideration. On the other side, many people have abandoned a landline and only deal with the carriers when it comes to their mobile devices. But, some may say, that could actually play into the favor of the carriers, i.e., people think smart home and associate that with wireless and mobile devices.

At this point it is anyone’s guess. But I must say that some of the cool stuff we have seen here brings that whole idea of the smart home into perspective, and the things I have been writing about in this blog might not be that far off (think voice-controlled home). In the end, it will be an exciting race that hopefully turns out to be a winner for the homeowners.

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