Comcast is keeping busy on the home automation front. Today, Comcast announced it has struck a partnership with EcoFactor, which enables a cloud-based energy management system, and it added four new features to its Xfinity Home service.
Using Comcast's data and Xfinity Home services, EcoFactor provides a "smart home" platform that learns the heating and cooling patterns of a home and makes automatic and incremental adjustments to the broadband-connected thermostat based on real-time weather data, the thermal characteristics of the house and the temperature preferences of the occupants. The homeowner maintains full control over the thermostat. Over time, the system adapts to user inputs to help reduce energy while keeping the home comfortable.
"Through our Xfinity Home service, we've created a broadband and cloud-based platform for security, remote home control and energy management, and we're always looking to collaborate with innovative companies like EcoFactor," said Mitch Bowling, senior vice president and general manager of new businesses for Comcast Cable. "With EcoFactor, we see an opportunity to bring new and exciting technologies to our customers through an automatic energy management solution that works in real time."
In a posting on Comcast's blog, Bowling said Xfinity Home customers could reduce the costs associated with cooling and heating in their homes by 10 percent to 30 percent.
EcoFactor is also working with Comcast to integrate its complete back office solution, including training, support for onboarding, installation and the reporting that provides customers with the details of their energy use. While Comcast announced the partnership with EcoFactor today, the launch details and pricing won't be available until later this year.
Bowling also wrote about four new features for Xfinity Home: an indoor/outdoor camera with night vision, a carbon monoxide sensor, a water/flood sensor for a basement or washroom, and some in-wall lighting switches that can be remotely controlled with Comcast's Xfinity Home app.
Xfinity Home, which was first launched in Houston two years ago, offers traditional home security components, such as police and fire alarm protection, as well as the ability to adjust digital thermostats, turn lights on or off, and watch secure live streaming video from wireless cameras while homeowners are away from their homes.
The service uses an Xfinity Security app, which is available for free on Apple's iTunes App Store. In addition, Xfinity Home comes with a tablet-like touchscreen, with a menu of widgets that allow access to the latest weather, news, traffic and sports scores.
Earlier this month, Comcast completed the rollout of Xfinity Home in its Freedom Region, and during Comcast's recent fourth-quarter earnings call, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the service would be available in "many, many markets virtually nationwide" this year.
Thee Xfinity Home Security Preferred Package starts at $39.95 per month with an additional installation fee. Comcast said Xfinity Home Security customers would also be eligible to receive up to a 20 percent discount on their homeowners' insurance.