AT&T will go live with Digital Life home automation service in March

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LAS VEGAS--AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) will launch its Digital Life home automation service in eight markets in March with plans to expand the service to 50 markets nationwide by year-end. The company will handle all aspects of the service from selling it at AT&T retail stores to providing customer service, billing and installation.   

During AT&T's annual Developer Summit held here in conjunction with the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, Glenn Lurie, president of emerging enterprises and partnerships at AT&T, said that AT&T's Digital Life product will use the company's wireless network and will allow subscribers to customize the service and have flexible price plans. However, he did not provide specifics on that pricing.

Lurie said that AT&T will have Digital Life centers in Atlanta and Dallas that will manage the product. The company is actively looking for developers to make applications for Digital Life to help make the product more robust.

Lurie and his team first unveiled the Digital Life concept in New Orleans last May when they outfitted a stately New Orleans Garden District home with home automation services. Members of the media that toured the home saw demonstrations of how various home appliances, window shades, table lamps, door locks, security cameras and even coffee pots can be outfitted with wireless sensors and then be controlled via an app on the homeowners' iPad or smartphone.

Lurie noted that the existing home security market is due for a "facelift" and that fewer than 1 percent of households in the U.S. have home automation services. "The market needs competition to drive innovation in the space. The market is underpenetrated," Lurie said. "People want more features and more value," he said, adding that most of the current services are targeted at the very "high-end" of the market. 

Lurie also said that 60 percent of the market is currently handled by more than 1,000 home security companies and the market leader has just six million customers. 

Cisco is a key partner in AT&T's Digital Life initiative and created the digital controller for the service. Cisco CEO John Chambers joined Lurie and AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega on the stage at the developer summit to talk about Digital Life. Chambers called the initiative a "market transition opportunity" for AT&T and said that the two companies have been working on this for the past two years. He also said that Digital Life's goal is to be able to scale and go global with the service.

Other partners involved in AT&T's Digital Life initiative include Honeywell, Jasco, Yale, Aeon Labs, ServiceLive, Linear, Sercom and Asurion.

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