|Tim McElligott Blog|
AT&T Doubles Down on American Paranoia
Someone from the wireless community finally figured out how to capitalize on that element of American character that politicians have been exploiting for centuries: paranoia. We're always looking for a boogieman to fight and we love the self-protection our guns reportedly provide, so that it took this long for a major operator to get behind the home security and monitoring business in a bigger way is a little surprising. But AT&T has done it. And good for them, because plucking the strings of our paranoia is not just good strategy, it is just the beginning of what is going to be, in my opinion, the next really big, really cool and really useful thing communications companies do.
The biggest news to come out of CTIA this week could be AT&T's announcement that it plans to invest heavily in home monitoring – and the news came out two days before the big show even started. Home security is a big business but it could be much bigger; it only has a 20 percent penetration rate. With a company like AT&T seriously supporting it and driving it, home security will evolve from wirelessly connected alarms and cameras into full-home monitoring and ultimately into home management.
Home monitoring and management will be too irresistible for the connected generation who love to manage their lives remotely – provided they get the chance to own a home – and it will give good cover for those who feel danger lurking in every shadow.
AT&T's Digital Life service will monitor homes for structural damage, burglaries and environmental performance. It also will allow two-way communications turning on lights, adjusting temperatures or unlocking doors over the Internet. Once the home is connected, personal health care and other applications will follow. Trials begin this year and revenue expectations are high.
Naturally, there has been no talk about how the services will be provisioned, activated, monitored and billed. We'll let the technology guys have their day, but expect us to be bringing you the back story on this new service soon. And by back story, we mean back office.
E-mail me at email@example.com or click on the comment button below and tell us the coolest thing you would like to do with a sophisticated monitoring and management system for your home.