Xfinity Home Welcomes New Tenants

Marking a milestone for its “Works with Xfinity Home” initiative, Comcast said its new smart home platform is now compatible with four third-party products – the August Smart Lock, Chamberlain MyQ garage controller, Lutron’s Caseta’ wireless light controller and dimmer and the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Those products are now compatible with Comcast’s Xfinity Home apps for Android and iOS.  Comcast said its customers will eventually be able to control all of their smart home devices via the TV through its X1 platform and voice remote.

“This is the start of a long list of devices that will follow,” Dan Herscovici, SVP and GM of Xfinity Home, said.

The integrations with the first four come about five months after the MSO announced its smart home certification program, which is powered by a home-grown software development kit.

Other announced Xfinity Home partners include Cuff (smart jewelry); Leeo (maker of a smart home devcie that listens for smoke and CO detectors and sends alerts if they sound, plus a secondary nightlight function); Rachio (sprinkler controllers); Netgear (the Arlo wireless HD camera),  Automatic Labs (car adapters); SkyBell (video doorbells); and Whistle (pet monitors).

Comcast’s new smart home platform relies on open protocols and APIs that hook into the MSO’s backoffice systems, Herscovici said, noting that the all-IP system currently supports connectivity over WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee.

“There’s a cloud-based rules engine that drives interaction across these devices, but it’ a Comcast-developed home automation platform,” he said.

Comcast’s new Xfinity Home platform for the MSO’s own smart home gear and third-party partners currently doesn’t support systems such as Brillo (Google’s underlying OS for the Internet of Things), Weave (Google’s IoT communications layer), Apple’s HomeKit, or the Open Interconnect Consortium. But Comcast is keeping its eyes and ears open.

Comcast’s platform “can support additional standards as we find ones that are valuable to make compatible,” Herscovici said. “It’s early in the market today. We want to lead and deliver value to the consumer and do so in a conscious way to gain credibility and reinforce trust to the consumer first." 

Comcast has set up a developer’s site for the Works with Xfinity Home program. There are no fees to join the program, but Comcast decides who makes the cut.

“You have to be in the top of your category and offer a valuable experience that can integrate with the platform,” Herscovici said.

Comcast is taking this angle, believing that consumers will want a single interface and a single user experience for home security and automation, rather than having a mishmash that runs on multiple apps.

“The more devices you connect to the platform, the more valuable the platform becomes,” Herscovici said.

In addition to providing a new revenue stream, MSOs are also looking for home automation and security services to add stickiness to service bundles. Comcast has more than 500,000 Xfinity Home subscribers.

Comcast has a dedicated customer care team for Xfinity Home that factors in its support for the new third-party partners.

He said Comcast’s long-standing partnership with Icontrol remains intact, noting that they will continue to serve as Comcast’s “security state machine and security engine,” providing the heart of the Xfinity Home touchscreen and the alarming system tied to the service’s security ecosystem.

“Icontrol is a component of the larger solution,” he said.

That larger solution will also be comprised of a new line of smart home devices developed by Comcast.

Herscovici said Comcast is about 12 to 16 weeks away from the launch of its own integrated camera product, with a thermostat to follow early next year.

“We’ll start to see all of these devices in Q1/Q2 of next year in a meaningful way,” he said.