Comcast Expanding, Opening Up Xfinity Home

Comcast’s flurry of technology and service announcements this week at INTX also included what’s on the horizon for Xfinity Home, the MSO’s home security and automation platform.

Xfinity Home is about to get a big facelift in the form of a new software platform that will run a variety next-gen products developed by Comcast alongside integrations with a batch of third-party devices, including Nest, the popular smart thermostat that’s now part of the Google empire.

Amplifying a broader strategy that’s well underway in which Comcast is developing and designing its own consumer products such as set-top boxes, gateways and remote controls, the MSO showed off a suite of internally developed Xfinity Home products, including smart thermostats, indoor/outdoor cameras with night vision, sensors, and a revamped touchscreen controller (see picture above). Some of those products will feature the same low-power E Ink Corp. technology used in Amazon’s latest line of Kindle e-readers.

Comcast has not announced when it will launch the new products, but they will be made to support a range of wireless connectivity protocols, including WiFi, Zigbee and Bluetooth, according to an exec who was demoing the products.

Comcast also announced that it will open up Xfinity Home to a broad set of device partners, noting that the MSO later this year will release a software development kit (SDK) and a “Works with Xfinity Home” certification program (opens in new tab).

This week, the company announced several partners, including August, a maker of smart locks and car adapters (Comcast Ventures is an investor); Cuff (smart jewelry); Leeo (maker of a connected nighlight); Lutron (dimmers, remote controls and battery-powered shade); Rachio (sprinkler controllers); Automatic Labs (car adapters); SkyBell (video doorbells); and Whistle (pet monitors).

Comcast is  separately developing an integration with Nest Labs through the Works with Nest program.

“We want to help people unlock the potential of their smart home,” Dan Herscovici, SVP and GM of Xfinity Home, said, in a statement. “Whether it’s through the television, an app or a voice command, we’re giving customers one easy-to-use experience to control all their favorite devices, seamlessly on the same platform.”

A Comcast official said the MSO’s relationship with Icontrol, its original Xfinity Home technology partner, is unchanged.

However, the coming SDK, an exec at the Comcast booth explained, will established a broader, “super set” platform that will encompass Icontrol, Comcast’s new internally-developed products, and its grander third-party integration initiative.

Comcast’s Xfinity Home is evolving as the platform starts to scale up. Speaking on the company’s first quarter conference call on Monday (May 4), Comcast Cable president and CEO Neil Smit said Xfinity Home has more than 500,000 customers.

“That business is really starting to catch on,” Smit said.