Like some of its cable brethren, Cox Communications is getting serious about the home security business, announcing plans today to expand an offering it has pilot tested in Arizona before the end of this year.

A Cox spokesperson told Telecompetitor that the offering, dubbed Cox Home Security, will rely on a broadband connection, which could be from Cox or another carrier. “The solution is broadband provider agnostic but we are giving bundle discounts to Cox subscribers with other services,” the spokesperson said.

Coincidentally the news came out the same day that Telecompetitor reported on the strong success that Independent telco GVTC has had in the home security market by using a similar strategy of offering discounts to customers that purchase security as part of a bundled multi-play offering. That offering, however, relies primarily on phone lines for communications, at least for now.

Broadband pros and cons
By leveraging broadband connectivity, Cox’s Home Security offering will support a range of value-added capabilities such as lighting and temperature control, video monitoring via a smartphone or web browser, or email and text alerts to customers about occurrences at the home.

Other cable companies pursuing the home security opportunity, including Comcast and Time Warner, also are using broadband for connectivity – and that approach is different from the one chosen by most traditional alarm dealers, who originally relied on phone lines but have begun to rely more heavily on cellular communications. Traditional alarm dealers say landline broadband is too unreliable for home security – and that’s a concern that apparently has occurred to Cox, which plans to include cellular backup with its offering. (At least one other cable company — Comcast — also has made that choice.)

Cox plans to use its own technicians to install the home security systems, noted the spokesperson, adding that “they will initially be focused on home security but will likely eventually serve as universal service technicians to support all products.”

The cable company will not operate its own central monitoring facility but instead will outsource that functionality to COPS Monitoring, the spokesperson said.

Earlier this year, financial firm Bernstein Research issued a report about cable companies in the home security market predicting that cable companies and telcos would gain a “fair share” of the market.  On the telco side, AT&T seems to have the most ambitious plans in the home security market, going so far as to create its own monitoring facilities. Unlike the cable companies, AT&T is not focused primarily on broadband but instead on wireless, potentially enabling the telco to offer home security services outside its ILEC footprint.

Cox has not yet announced the new markets where it will offer home security.



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