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iControl Opens Up Device Ecosystem

iControl Networks, a supplier of home security and automation technologies to several major North American cable operators, is looking to do for hardware what it’s already doing for apps – open up.

iControl on Tuesday launched the expansion of its OpenHome  Partner Program for device manufacturers, offering hardware vendors the ability to develop and certify devices that can hook into iControl’s smart home platform, which powers services such as Comcast’s Xfinity Home, Time Warner Cable’s IntelligentHome, and Rogers Communications’ Smart Home Monitoring.  

The OpenHome Partner Program will charge vendors a “nominal certification fee,” an iControl spokeswoman said via email, but said it’s economical for smart home vendors because certification ensures interoperability with all of iControl’s service provider partners.  

iControl said interoperability will initially be built on the ZigBee standard. The initial batch of OpenHouse Program members include  Bosch PIR and TriTech (motion detectors); Jasco (smart plugs and in-wall switches); Sercomm (energy switches); Yale (door locks); and Sylvania (Ultra iQ LED bulbs.). Among that group, Comcast has already struck a deal to resell Sylvania’s new "smart" bulbs, which can be controlled remotely by the MSO’s Xfinity Home service.

iControl said its expanded hardware partner program will enable its platform to work with a broader set of devices, including smartphones, touch screens and PCs.

"The OpenHome Partner Program will create unprecedented speed to market for device makers interested in teaming with leading smart home providers to bring connected products into homes,” said Jason Domangue, iControl's vice president of ecosystem development, in a statement.

iControl is trying to achieve similar openness with the FastTrack App Partner Program, an initiative launched in July that taps into the Android developer pool. iControl’s software platform uses a customized version of the Android operating system.